Mortal Kombat: Legacy 

Maybe "Mortal Kombat," a compilation of nine episodes roughly 10 minutes apiece, is the spark for another flick's flame.

Directed by Kevin Tancheroen ("Glee: The 3D Concert Movie," of all things), the series isn't what you'd expect, mainly because they purposely don't combine to tell a single story. The first two installments may be the most conventional, with Maj. Jax (Michael Jai White, "Black Dynamite") breaking the rules ("Fuck protocol!") to lead a rescue mission for a chained Sonya Blade (Jeri Ryan, TV's "Body of Proof"). The resulting fights are so violent and bloody, the red stuff hits the lens.

But the others are wildly different in intent and tone. For example, a more comedic one, serving as a prequel to the movies, finds egocentric actor Johnny Cage (Matt Mullins, "Bloodfist 2050") pitching a reality show to no avail: "I haven't worked since 'Power Rangers' went off the air." Another finds Raiden (Ryan Robbins, TV's "Sanctuary") in a mental hospital for observation because his insistence at being the God of Thunder is seen as insanity when he lands in our modern America.

One is entirely in Japanese; the final one centers on training tests at the Cyber Initiative, where the fighting robots are better than any scene of same in all two-plus hours of "Real Steel." The only one I'd qualify as truly terrible is a two-parter that utilizes (very poor) animation sequences as flashbacks.

With a lack of star power — beyond the opening Ryan/White combo — "Legacy" lets its slick visuals and rapid pace draw you into this world. Brevity is to the project's benefit at the times story lags; then again, it's tough to tell any kind of story in the span of a sex act.

The Blu-ray contains several behind-the-scenes featurettes detailing various aspects of the production. All illustrate ingenuity and passion for this underdog undertaking, if also a too-serious reverence for the game's so-called "mythos." Because of some shortcutting that takes place, "Legacy" is not for newcomers to the franchise; the good news is that it kicks the ass of the second movie. —Rod Lott

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Rod Lott

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