Special Report: "Get over here!" Lawrence Kasanoff, you're an idiot!
Lawrence Kasanoff produced the 1995 movie adaptation of Mortal Kombat
along with the 1997 sequel Mortal Kombat: Annihilation
. His other Mortal Kombat-related projects include the one season animated series Mortal Kombat: Defenders of the Realm
, the one season syndicated live action show Mortal Kombat: Conquest
and ongoing attempts to produce a third Mortal Kombat movie.
He can also lay claim to owning a huge set of brass balls.
Today, Kasanoff sued Midway in bankruptcy court for his share of the Mortal Kombat IP rights
. Included in his complaint is the claim that he is the man that popularized the Mortal Kombat series.
See. I challenge you to find a person with larger cojones than that.
The complaint (which can be found at GamePolitics
) includes the following doozy...
The Mortal Kombat series, as it stands today, is far more a creation of Threshold and Kasanoff than of Midway. Midway's creative input was almost entirely limited to the videogames. On their own, the videogames provided only minimal back-story and mythology, and only flat, "stock" characters with virtually no character development. Kasanoff and Threshold were responsible for virtually all of the creative input that went into turning the videogame concept into a multimedia enterprise. The in-depth back-story, mythology, development of original characters and creation of new ones, visual imagery, and musical and audio accompaniment that went into [Kasanoff's MK productions] were developed almost entirely by Threshold. In some instances, Threshold's work was even incorporated back into the later Mortal Kombat videogames.
Kasanoff and Threshold go on to specifically take credit for making Sonya Blade, Liu Kang and Scorpion into the popular characters they are today.
If you've managed to stop laughing, there is actually a tiny bit of merit to some of his claims. Specifically, I believe the rivalry between Johnny Cage and Goro was first mentioned in the original movie. That feud has since carried over into the subsequent Mortal Kombat games (the ones Johnny Cage was alive in anyway). Also, the late Trevor Goddard's portrayal of Kano as an Australian gangster proved popular enough with fans that it was retconned into the MK canon. Kano would also have a special move called "Ear to Ear" (taken from a line in the movie) in future MK games.
Of course, the rest of the lawsuit is pure frivolity. The original Mortal Kombat arcade game was well regarded for it's deep mythology that was created solely by Midway through a combination of in-game text, supplemental promotional materials and an official comic book adaptation (which Threshold had nothing to do with). The game's story was further fleshed out through the instruction booklets of the Super NES and Genesis home versions of MK and Mortal Kombat II.
Finally, the last Mortal Kombat property Threshold had a hand in was MK: Annihilation in 1997. In the intervening 12 years between then and this lawsuit, Midway (and Midway alone) has added reams of backstory to the Mortal Kombat mythology. Plus, how much can Kasanoff even understand
the Mortal Kombat mythology when the television show he produced based on it featured the subtitle C
onquest. If there aren't a ton of extraneous hard K's it's not Mortal Kombat.
Kasanoff is seeking to block Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment's purchase of Midway. But whether he succeeds or not, here's to Lawrence Kasanoff for showing flawless stupidity and giving the gaming community a good laugh today.