Mortal Kombat: Conquest-Volume 1-3 (1998)
|Year Of Production||1998|
|Running Time||410:40 (Case: 440)|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (3)
|Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||
Bruce Seth Green
New Line Television
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.29:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.29:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
As the opening spiel suggests, Mortal Kombat: Conquest is a TV series prequel to the successful video games and movies set in an ambiguous point in the past. Kung Lao (Paolo Montalban) has defeated Shang Tsung (Bruce Locke) at the latest Mortal Kombat tournament, thus preventing the Outworld Emperor Shao Khan from having the right to invade the earth realm. As Kung Lao heads back to prepare for the next Mortal Kombat tournament, under the watchful eye of the thunder god Rayden (Jeff Meeks), Shang Tsung is banished to the Emperor's cobalt mines as punishment for his failure.
Swearing revenge, but unable to fight Kung Lao directly until the next Mortal Kombat, Shang Tsung murders Kung Lao's girlfriend. This prompts Kung Lao to recruit Siro (Daniel Bernhardt), his dead girl's bodyguard, and Taja (Kristanna Loken), a thief, to help him train to defend the Earth Realm. The three encounter many a weekly adventure in the city of Zhu Zin, a city built on ancient ruins that acts as a gateway between the Earth Realm and other realms.
In a nutshell, Mortal Kombat: Conquest is light on budget, light on script, but heavy on action, heavy on plot and aimed squarely at the Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess end of the market. Although it's generally not nearly as well scripted as Hercules or Xena, the ongoing story is quite engaging and most of the action scenes stand up very well - albeit in a cheap, made-for-TV kind of way.
Each episode is extremely formulaic, to the point that bad guys literally appear from nowhere in order for let the show fit the one fight every 10-15 minutes rule. The plot rarely holds up well when any thought is given to it, but if you are going to fault the show for either of these things then you have missed the point entirely. Mortal Kombat: Conquest is a mindless guilty pleasure - ideal for watching when you know you should be doing something better with your time, but lack the inclination. It was, and still is, well suited to the wee hours of the morning in which it was originally broadcast in Australia... that time of night when oily men, scantily clad women, kung-fu and techno music all start to make sense!
The series only lasted one season. This 3 disc set collates the pilot and first 8 episodes of the regular series. The episodes included are:
Warrior Eternal (Pilot): Kung Lao wins Mortal Kombat only to return to Earth Realm and have his life fall apart when Shang Tsung sends the deadly warrior Scorpion after him.
Cold Reality: The evil Lin Kuei guild of assassins are engaged by Shang Tsung to steal a magic crystal in the possession of Kung Lao. Ultimately, they send their deadliest assassin - Sub Zero - who has mastered the ability to freeze things as well as martial arts.
Immortal Kombat: Siro and Taja are inadvertently poisoned with a rapid aging potion that was intended for Kung Lao. Kung Lao must track down a witch who can reverse the effects of the potion before his friends die of old age.
The Essence: Kung Lao forms an alliance with Shao Khan's step daughter, Princess Kitana, to locate the essence of her realm (that is, what her realm was before it was destroyed by Shao Khan) before Shang Tsung can use it to gain immeasurable power.
Noob Saibot: Siro and Taja are sent on a false quest by an evil seer and unwittingly release Noob Saibot, an ancient assassin who travels as a black cloud that leaves a mysterious oily trail. Of course, it's not long before Noob Saibot is sent to kill Kung Lao!
Debt of the Dragon: An underworld gang called the Black Dragon claim ownership of the trading post that Kung Lao, Taja and Siro call home. When they find that the three heroes are reluctant to leave their home, the Black Dragon (well, what's left of them!) ally with Shang Tsung to take it by force.
Undying Dream: Taja is lured into the cobalt mines of Outworld by a figure that appears to be her long lost father. While Taja searches the mines for her father, Shang Tsung attempts to lure Kung Lao and Siro to the mines to rescue her.
Quan Chi: Quan Chi, an evil sorceror from the Nether Realm, and his 3 scantily clad female assassins (including My Name is Earl hottie Jaime Pressly) poison Kung Lao, Siro and Taja with a potion that accentuates their personalities to the extreme. It's up to Rayden to stop the effects before our regular heroes tear each other apart.
Unholy Alliance: Quan Chi and Shang Tsung form an alliance to trap Kung Lao in a realm where all his dreams appear to have come true, leaving the Earth Realm defenceless in the process.
The video is PAL and is presented in a 1.29:1 aspect ratio. Given the age of the material it is likely the original aspect ratio. It is certainly the aspect ratio the show was presented in when it was first aired in Australia.
The transfer is generally good for the age and quality of the source material, although it does vary from episode to episode. The later episodes tend to be both cleaner (displaying far fewer film artefacts) and sharper.
Film artefacts such as dust and dirt are occasionally noticeable, particularly in the first couple of episodes, but the picture is rarely terribly grainy. There is even a great big line down the length of the screen at 19:20 of the pilot and again at about 31:20 of the first regular episode, although these are the only really big film artefacts. The pilot double episode is noticeably dirtier than the rest of the episodes, enough to make it look a bit rough occasionally, but it is still perfectly watchable.
The colour depth is good and the colours levels are quite even throughout. The shadow detail is also good - this is important as there a lot of dark scenes in torch-lit scenes.
The picture is on the soft side and displays interlacing artefacts. The ghosting is most obvious in the fast motion action scenes, which are not as smooth as they could have been without this artefact, but still are quite watchable. These are likely the result of converting the original NTSC video to PAL.
Two of the three discs in the set are dual layered. On each of those discs the layer break is placed between episodes.
There is one audio track present, Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s).
The dialogue is quite clear. It does have occasional points where it is not in great sync, but no more on average than most low budget television shows.
The surround channels are not used, but dynamic range is enough for the subwoofer to pick up on the music and effects to a limited degree - more or less what is reasonable to expect from a show of this age.
|Surround Channel Use|
The only surprise you will find here is the annoying anti-piracy ads, although they can be skipped by pressing the menu button on the player.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Mortal Kombat: Conquest has not been released in Region 1. A number of assorted episodes have been released in Region 2, but not the full series nor are those released presented in a series order as is the case with the Region 4 release.
Mortal Kombat: Conquest is a true guilty pleasure that is likely to give both fans of the games and late night trash TV what they are looking for in a budget-priced multi disc set.
The video quality varies between episodes, but is certainly adequate, although marred by interlacing artefacts throughout. The audio is quality is good for a series of its age - dance music and martial arts, what a combo!
|DVD||LG V8824W, using S-Video output|
|Display||LG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|