Johnny Cage tries to revive his career through reality shows and beating up network executives.

Blair Marnellby Blair Marnell

Writers: Aaron Helbing and Todd Helbing

Director: Kevin Tancharoen

The first two episodes of "Mortal Kombat: Legacy" were really enjoyable despite some shaky effects work. Michael Jai White and Jeri Ryan seemed well suited for their roles as Jax and Sonya and both episodes actually felt like they belonged in the realm of "Mortal Kombat."

So, what the hell happened here?

Episode three of "Mortal Kombat: Legacy" follows Matt Mullins' Johnny Cage as he attempts to revitalize his career, in possibly the most pathetic way possible: a reality show. The start of the episode with Victor Lucas from "Electric Playground" actually had me thinking I was watching the wrong video for a few moments before it briefly goes into an  "E True Hollywood" style story of Cage's career.

The writers seem to be borrowing an idea from the first "Mortal Kombat" film that Johnny Cage isn't respected because his fights look fake and staged. Which is kind of amazing, because that was one of the least interesting parts of the movie. At least there, that Johnny Cage was presented as a genuine action star! I'll admit, I laughed at the joke that Johnny hasn't worked since being on "Power Rangers," but it's a definite step back for the character.

Another problem is that Mullins is never actually believable as Johnny. He doesn't quite have the right look, a good delivery or impressive martial arts moves. Linden Ashby from the "MK" wasn't perfect, but he was far more convincing as Johnny. Mullins doesn't have the cocky swagger that Johnny should carry. He just seems like a random dude.

This episode's biggest sin is that almost all of the "Mortal Kombat" aspects of the entire show are downplayed until the closing seconds of the episode. And only after getting through the tedious scenes of Johnny trying to sell himself as an action hero in a new reality show. As I understand it, each episode of "Mortal Kombat: Legacy" is going to spotlight different characters and introduce them to the story. So, does this mean we're going to get nothing but setup and no payoff?

Although, if we don't see Johnny again, I won't be unhappy about that.

I'm struggling to come up with something positive to say about this episode, but the only thing I can think of is that some of the action is passable, if far from spectacular. I did like seeing Erica Cerra ("Eureka") briefly as the unnamed actress who was inexplicably pitched Johnny's show moments after his second rejection and while he was still in earshot. It's too soon to call on Johnson Phan's Shang Tsung. We simply don't see him long enough for him to register yet.

The censorship in this episode was also incredibly distracting. The actors drop more than a few F-bombs which were edited out by simply muting the lines. And apparently that black screen last week when Jax knocked out Kano's eye wasn't a one time thing. The beauty of "Mortal Kombat" is its highly stylized use of violence. If "Mortal Kombat: Legacy" is just going to censored for the web, then what's the point of releasing it this way? I'd rather see a fully formed DTV "Mortal Kombat" feature than some disjointed vignettes that don't tie together.

I can admit to having had high hopes for "Mortal Kombat: Legacy." But the bar is set much higher than what we saw this week.

Crave Online Rating: 4 out of 10.