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The viral rebirth of “Mortal Kombat.”

The viral rebirth of “Mortal Kombat.” (photo)

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With “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” leaving many theaters deserted, and in light of the abysmal box office performance of the last big-screen video game adaptation, 2009’s “Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li,” now may not be the ideal time to try get people excited about a video game movie.

But someone posting on YouTube under the handle “MortalKombatRebirth” did when they uploaded a new spin on the Midway classic starring “Black Dynamite”‘s Michael Jai White and “Star Trek: Voyager”‘s Jeri Ryan on Monday:

As first examined by Kotaku, and later confirmed by Latino Review and Ryan’s Twitter feed, the well-designed short, simply titled “Mortal Kombat,” is a high-end movie pitch created by director Kevin Tancharoen to “sell his vision” of a more mature rendition of the property to Warner Bros., who own the rights to the project.

“More mature rendition” may not be the best choice of words, since it implies a base level of maturity in previous “Mortal Kombat” films. First released in 1992, “Mortal Kombat” became one of the most popular arcade games of all time thanks, in part, to its infamously excessively violence. A fighting game involving supernaturally powered martial artists with arsenals of deadly “finishing moves” including decapitations and unanesthetized spinal cord surgery, “Mortal Kombat” became a hugely lucrative franchise. There were two movie adaptations, “Mortal Kombat” in 1995 and “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” in 1997, which looked like this:

Obviously there’s a disconnect between Tancharoen’s ideas and those of his cinematic predecessors. Interestingly, the terrible earlier movies are truer to the vision (if not the scope, or the quality) of the games. Anyone who knows “Mortal Kombat” knows it wasn’t high art. It was a game about silly looking men and women performing over-the-top moves (like my beloved Kung Lao, who beheads people with his razor blade-edged hat — how can he even grab it to throw it without cutting himself? — because he’s a pacifist).

They were most certainly not about gravely voiced cops trying to intimidate gravely voiced dudes with no pupils. Whether Tancharoen ever gets to make his version of “Mortal Kombat,” you have to at least give him credit for doing something different with the material because, let’s face it, doing the same thing with the material is what gave us “Mortal Kombat: Annihilation” in the first place. And because I can’t get enough of that movie, here’s another hilarious clip:

Give credit too to “Mortal Kombat” fanboys for not succumbing to the clichéd response of rejecting this thing simply because it isn’t faithful to the source material. Instead, the internet response has been strongly positive. Maybe the many dreadful video game adaptations have finally convinced people that innovation is not something to be afraid of. If Tancharoen rides his clip’s good buzz to a gig helming this movie, his ballsy courting of online fan culture would be pretty innovative as well.

[Photo: “Mortal Kombat Rebirth,” Kevin Tancharoen, 2010]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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