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Weekly Alibi Idiot Box

By Devin D. O'Leary

NOVEMBER 23, 1998:  It's not the most illustrious pedigree in Hollywood, but movies and television shows inspired by videogames seem to be increasing in numbers. I suppose as computers become faster and more powerful, videogames will--by extension--become more complex and will soon resemble big budget Hollywood productions. Mortal Kombat, one of the most successful coin-eaters of all time, is far from a complex game. In it, a host of super-powered ninjas beat the crap out of each other. Amazingly, its popularity inspired two feature films (in which a host of super-powered ninjas beat the crap out of each other), and now the game finds itself the impetus for a weekly syndicated action show (in which ... well, I think you get the idea).

Far be it from me to argue with five million quarter-toting kids, but the movies bored me as much as the videogame does. It follows, then, that the TV series would bore me even more. Why then, do I catch myself watching the damn thing every week? Call it a lapse in judgment. Call it a guilty pleasure. Call it whatever you like. There's something about "Mortal Kombat: Conquest" that's got me hooked.

Funny thing is, I've been watching it for weeks, and I have yet to figure out what the hell is going on. Apparently there are some good guys and some bad guys. The good guys are Kung Lao (an ass-kicking priest), Siro (an ass-kicking ex-soldier) and Taja (an ass-kicking thief). The bad guys are innumerable but are distinguished by two special characteristics. The evil men all wear goofy masks and talk in deep, computer-modulated voices. The evil women are all scantily clad.

For what should be a kids show, there is a surprising barrage of sexual innuendoes in each episode. On a recent show, an evil "witch" traded double entendres with her (female) masseuse and seduced some kind of creepy oil-based ninja (who had "served" her in "so many ways") into offing the good guys by promising a three-way "celebration" if you know what I mean. Tracey Douglas, one of the recurrent bad girls (named Vorpax) is naked in the opening credits, for freakin' out loud! Don't get me wrong, I've got a soft spot in my heart for nasty kung fu women in leather bustiers and butt floss bikinis, but this is ridiculous. One flustered fellow, who runs a massive Web site dedicated to all things MK (www.mortalkombatdominion.com), recently begged producers to "please add more clothes to the woman actors." The Kombat fanatic noted (with obvious distaste), "At one time a woman's nipple can be seen coming out of her outfit and Kung Lao's girlfriend Jen had no bra on, and that is not good when you are wearing next to nothing and jumping up and down, plus her outfit she wears after Siro fights Taja and the two male attackers you can plainly see her buttcrack sticking out."

Hmmm. Goofy kung fu, comic book villains, half-naked women: I just wish I could pin down what it is about this show that appeals to me.

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