Mortal Marathon Part 6: Debt of the Dragon

April 9th, 2011 by | Tags: ,

Guest article series by Gabriel “TheJoker138″ Coleman.

First off, I’d like to apologize that I’ve only done one of these this week so far, when I’ve been trying to crank out at least two. I’ve been busy with both class and work and also… Well, I read a brief synopsis of this episode before watching it and it sounded like the most boring thing ever. For the most part, it was, but near the end it changed to being pretty inadvertently hilarious. But regardless, putting it off wasn’t really fair to anyone actually following these and I’ll try not to let it happen again. From the synopsis I’ve been reading, I’m about one episode away from it actually starting to consistently feature characters from the games for the most part, so that should help. One more thing before we get to it, I would like to mention I have this staring me in the face, right next to one of the bus stops on the way to the college I attend:

It’s like they’re taunting me…

Oh, and another thing before we get into the actual episode. I’ve already said that this series is a bootleg I got a few years back and the quality isn’t consistent, but the one thing that has been weirding me out is the on screen titles. They’ve all been wrong and none of them have even had anything to do with what actually goes on in the episode. This one has one of these that fits both those criteria, but is also in a totally different format than the previous titles. Before, they would be on the bottom of the screen, as a single line of text that would be almost lost in the on screen credits if you weren’t paying attention. This episode has… well… see for yourself:

Taja is in this episode for all of 5 minutes

Anyways, this episode starts out at the training post, which Taja and Siro are now running the trading section of, while Kung will seemingly be handling the training parts. I somehow doubt we’re ever actually going to see anyone getting trained here though. Siro is haggling with a monk, who is an old friend of Kung’s from the monastery. Kung convinces Siro to back off a bit on his price, but after the monk leaves Siro reveals that Taja has him using a business strategy where even after giving the monk this “deal” they’ve still made a 200% profit. Kung is, of course, disapproving of this, but he promised to let them handle this end of it for a while and see if it works, so there’s not much he can do.

Just as they’re getting ready to close up for the night, a woman and two men barge in. She introduces herself as Jola and informs the two that the training post does not belong to Kung Lao, but to the Black Dragon. The baron apparently had gambling debts to the Black Dragon and used the post as collateral and now that he’s dead, they’re here to collect. Jola gives Kung and Siro five minutes to clear out, which of course they don’t accept, choosing instead to fight. Kung and Siro easily dispatch the henchmen, who each have two knives, which I’m guessing is supposed to be a reference to Kano having those same weapons.

Speaking of Kano, for the villain in this I was really kind of expecting some kind of Not Kano, akin to Not Jade (both of them), or maybe even just Kano himself, or one of his ancestors, or something. Instead we get a girl who sounds Russian, despite the fact that her father and brother (who we’ll get to momentarily) are both totally American.

Back to the fight, no one gets a smile carved on them from ear… to ear… as the fight gets cut short by a man interrupting them and telling Jola and her henchman to leave. This is Joral’s brother, Kebral. I’m wondering if his name is supposed to be a slight reference to Kabal, who was also associated with the Black Dragon in the games? Even if he’s not a Kabal reference though, check out this dudes hair:

It’s like they spliced Robert Pattinson with young Ben Affleck or something

Jola is upset that he’s stopping her, but he out ranks her in the Black Dragon, so she gathers her forces and leaves. Kebral is about to do the same, but before he leaves he warns Kung Lao that he still expects them to give up the post and that he will be back. When he goes, Siro says that he’s also sure they’ll be back, as he’s dealt with them before. The Black Dragon are Zhu Zin’s answer to the mafia. They control drugs, money laundering, prostitution, gambling and any other number of seedy, illegal things. Later that night, after Taja returns from her business trip (she goes on a lot of these this episode), they discuss what should be done about the situation. Siro wants to go on the offensive, feeling that striking back against them is the only way, while Kung seems to have taken on a very pacifistic attitude for someone who has threatened to kill other people for about 3 episodes running now. Taja, on the other hand, is totally indecisive and has no idea what to do. She’s about this useful for the whole episode.

Meanwhile, at Black Dragon HQ, Jola and Kebral are talking to the leader of the group, who is also their father, Bannak. There’s an argument amongst the three over how they each feel the organization should be run. Kebral wants them to start going straight, feeling that with the training post under their control, there would be no reason for further violence and is willing to try other ways of attaining it. Jola feels that they should return to the ways of their ancestors, getting power from the Black Dragon, which is some kind of actual dragon. Bannak feels that Kebral is wrong about going straight, but that Jola wants to go too far. He chides her about how the power that comes from their namesake is too powerful and led to the death of his father and many other former members of the group.

Jola comes to a slaver, who the Black Dragon has been kidnapping and selling people to and he is upset that she doesn’t have the twelve slaves that he was promised. She insists that he opens a portal to Outworld for her and he reluctantly does so. On the other end, it cuts to Not Jade bringing her to Shang Tsung, as she had been offering money to anyone who could get her to him. The two know each other already, having once been sleeping together, before Bannak committed some unspecified betrayal against Shang. Jola wants his help in getting the power of the Black Dragon for herself and Shang agrees on the condition that she kill Kung Lao. She agrees, saying that she considers Kung an enemy as well due to the whole fiasco that this episode opened with and returns to Earthrealm.

The next morning, Siro and Kung go to open the shop as Taja is once again out on business. I’m wondering if Loken was just unable to appear for some reason, so they wrote her out of most of this episode. When they go to open the doors, they find the monk from the previous night dead, pinned to the door, with a note pinned to his chest with a dagger. It warns them that for every day they delay in giving the Black Dragon control of the post, they’ll find another person pinned to their door. Siro insists that revenge is the only answer and that they have to take the fight to the Black Dragon now. Kung is still against this. Siro accuses him of being afraid of the Black Dragon and Kung counters that all he’s afraid of is Siro and how he’s acting right now. This causes Siro to storm off. This episode is apparently half-cocked angry Siro, as opposed to lighthearted funny Siro. There’s seems to be a 50/50 chance on which version of this character will show up. At Black Dragon HQ, someone sneaks in and murders Bannak.

Raiden shows up and discusses the situation with Kung. When Kung asks his advice, his response is saying he would go in and kick the crap out of them, but he is a god so that’s something he could easily do. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Raiden? Kung doesn’t like the idea and suggests the alternative of running. Raiden tells him that the only thing that he would have without a victory is doubt, not closure and disappears.

At Black Dragon HQ, Kebral takes over as leader of the Black Dragon. Jola implies that she thinks that he might have killed their father, which he doesn’t take to well. It’s also revealed that the medallion that represents leadership of the group is missing, but Kebral says even without it, he’s taking over.

At the training post, Taja shows up for another two seconds and has a small scene with Siro, who has gotten a message from Kebral, once again pinned to the door, sans body this time, asking for a meeting. Taja doesn’t think it’s a good idea, but Siro can’t be talked out of it and tells her to stay behind. She does, because her following would mean she might actually do something in this episode and we can’t have that now, can we?

Kebral had expected Kung to show up and is disappointed that it’s just Siro, but proposes his idea to buy the post from him anyway. Siro rejects and tells Kebral that he thinks it’s funny that he’s been reduced to begging like a dog, which Kebral doesn’t appreciate. There’s a fight between a couple more henchmen and Siro. I use “fight” in the loosest sense here because Siro just wipes the floor with these guys. After he finishes with them, he just walks right up to Kebral and knocks him out with one punch.

When Kebral comes to, he’s tied to a table, with a razor sharp pendulum swinging over him, being slowly lowered by Siro. Siro is not fucking around in this episode, goddamn. Siro demands information on who killed the monk, but the only person Kebral gives up is Jola. Kung shows back up and frees Kebral and then he and Siro get into a shouting match, each of them calling the others response to this situation insane.

Raiden shows up again and Siro attempts to threaten him into staying out of the situation. That doesn’t work so well and all it takes to get Siro to back down is his eye electricity thing. He then proceeds to lay a verbal smack down on all three of them, even the absentee Taja. He tells Siro that his anger is making him useless, Kung that he’s confused and kind of acting like a pussy and that they need to tell Taja to pick a side. He then straight up vanishes before they can say anything back to him. Siro mentions to Kung that he didn’t kill Bannak, before storming off again.

Back in Outworld Jola shows up at Shang’s again and reveals that she was the one who killed Bannak and stole the dragon medallion. Big surprise there. The medallion is not only a symbol of leadership to the Black Dragon, but also the source of the power of their namesake. This is kind of interesting, as in the later MK games, specifically Deception, Sub-Zero would have a similar dragon medallion for the Lin Kuei. It was a symbol of leadership for them and also increased his power significantly and also turned his clothing into the Shredder’s outfit.

Anyway, Shang uses the medallion to call out the power of the Black Dragon and it enters Jola via terrible looking CGI fire.

I think it’s supposed to be a flaming skull?

Remember how earlier I mentioned that this episode went from boring to hilarious near the end. Well this is where shit gets real in that regard. The fire dissipates and reveals… Once again, see for yourself:

Yes. This is a fire breathing dragon with the legs of a woman wearing leather shorts and knee high boots. Look on my works, ye mighty and tremble.

As ridiculous as that look in a still photo, I assure you it’s even better in motion. Luckily they have the good sense to have this only last for about 2 seconds, before she transforms into how she used to look, just wearing a more revealing leather outfit. Oh and sometimes her hands turn into CGI dragon heads that spit fire at people, or some CGI fire will come off her back.

Back at the training post, Kung lets Siro know that he has already sent a note to Kebral, giving the Black Dragon possession of the post. Kebral is reading this note when Jola shows up, reveals her plan to him and then promptly chokes him to death. This makes her the official new leader of the group, as she is next in the line of succession and has the medallion. She then heads off to kill Kung.

When she shows up, she walks right into a trap that our three protagonists have set. But she sees it coming and knocks Taja out first thing. I am seriously curious if there was a reason that Loken didn’t do anything this episode. So this fight is pretty crazy and not in a good way. I mentioned her CGI dragon hands earlier. Well, in some shots she has them, in some she doesn’t, which leads me to believe they might have gone over budget and not have had enough money to put them into every shot of her throwing fire. The first half of this fight is also just her throwing fire at Kung and Siro while yelling things like, “Time to fry, Siro!”

Is every villain this show required to look as smug as possible at some point?

For the second half of the fight, they finally get past her fire and get in closer for some hand-to-hand combat with her, but this doesn’t last long before she’s all of a sudden weakened and teleported back to Outworld by Shang Tsung. As this happens, Taja finally wakes back up and walks into frame just long enough for us to know that she’s okay.

In Outworld, Shang lets Jola know that if she keeps using her powers without understanding them, she’ll turn to dust, just as her grandfather and countless other Black Dragon members have done over the years. He tells her that she’ll be staying with him and Not Jade, in the cobalt mines, learning to control them and that she effectively belongs to him now, as he could just take the powers away from her whenever he chooses.

Finally, at the training post, Raiden shows up one more time and congratulates them on working together and dealing with the problem. He also gives them what has become the standard speech about how even though they’ve won the day, the villain is still alive and out there and they should watch out.

What a massive drop in quality from the last two episodes. The last two may not have been award-winning or anything, but they were at the very least entertaining through out. This one, up until the terrible CGI dragon and disappearing dragon hands, was just boring. I really wish they had either just said the hell with it and put Kano in here, or at least one of his ancestors. Or even Kabal. Someone that fans of the game might actually care about. Also the whole thing with Loken hardly being in it is weird, as I mentioned. Oh well, one more episode before I get to what will either be the good stuff, or something that’s at least horrible in an entertaining way.

Up Next: Episode 8- Undying Dream Featuring… Nobody new. Shang Tsung is in it though. That’s cool, right?

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