Thanks to the release of the new Mortal Kombat movie -- it looks like everyone has a case of MK fever! If you're looking for more live-action thrills after streaming the new release on HBO Max, the service now has you covered with cult-favourite late nineties televisaion series - Mortal Kombat: Conquest! Read on for details:
Originally airing in the Fall of 1998 through 1999; Mortal Kombat: Conquest brought to life the ancient backstory of the Great Kung Lao with a single 22 episode run. Despite taking place centuries before the much-loved 1995 feature film, it expanded upon the shared universe of Threshold's productions, incorporating occasional establishing shots from the films, and featuring various fan-favourite characters who could plausibly survive the gulf of time.
Paolo Montalban starred as Earthrealm's immortal champion: a metrosexual monk who must deal with the trials of surviving Outworld's assassination attempts whilst tending to the day-to-day running of a trading post inherited from his murdered love interest. As godly mentor Raiden (Jeff Meek) chimes in the series intro: That is the burden he must carry.
The show was an oversexed product of its time, continuing a new wave of swashbuckling, ancient era action kitsch started by TV's Hercules: The Legendary Journeys. The martial arts show had to invent a lot of material for its run, including series regulars Siro (Daniel Bernhardt) and Taja (Kristanna Loken), but after a slow start, manages to get just enough right to make it a hidden gem for fans of MK and cheesy multimedia.
The show rolls out modified versions of Scorpion, Sub-Zero, Kitana, Mileena, Reptile and some very nice characters we won't spoil, usually working for the exiled Shang Tsung (Bruce Locke), who seeks redemption in the eyes of Shao Kahn (also Jeff Meek), and revenge for his defeat at the hands of Kung Lao. That's right, folks. The very first thing you will see in this series is the Mortal Kombat tournament!
The show even seems to predict a handful of future concepts featured in the video game series. There's a memorable "Unholy Alliance" between Shang Tsung and Quan Chi (Adoni Maropis), a visit from Master Cho (George Cheung) that forecasts Bo' Rai Cho a few years later, and even a prototype D'Vorah-esque insectoid queen called Empress Kreeya (Fabiana Udenio). The show really finds its rhythm after first half-dozen episodes and features a dramatic finale that will leave you cursing the executives who didn't renew it for a second season!
[Related Article: Review: Mortal Kombat Hacks Into Franchise Reboot]
Warner Brothers released the Complete Series DVD in 2014, but for those who missed out and subscribed to HBO Max for the new movie, this is the perfect time to catch-up on one of Kombat's curious forgotten corners! If you do share your thoughts in the comments below and check out more AV discussion in the Media & Merchandise forum!