Insert coin, press start: Netflix is taking on arcade fighting games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat, as evidenced by the first trailer for Black Mirror Season 5. The episode will star Ludi Lin, best known for portraying Zack the Black Ranger in the 2017 Power Rangers movie.
On Wednesday, Netflix released the trailer for Black Mirror Season 5, and it looks to be one of the most star-studded seasons of the sci-fi series yet. Topher Grace, Anthony Mackie, and singer Miley Cyrus all star in episodes of the new season, but Lin — who recently had a minor role in Aquaman — features predominantly in an episode that will pay homage to retro fighting games.
While it’s most likely an augmented or virtual reality simulation, the trailer contains scenes of two fighters, Lin in a black and red karate gi, and a blonde woman in one of those lame, racist “Sexy Geisha” costumes you’d find in a Halloween store, as they pummel each other in a sunny temple.
The onscreen graphics feature words like “FIGHT!” and special effects that make their punches and attacks more ferocious. You know, just like in a typical round of Street Fighter. Or King of Fighters. Or Tekken. Or BlazBlue. Or Mortal Kombat. Or Samurai Shodown. Or Dead or Alive. Or Shaq Fu. Or…
Of course, the full context of the episode is unknown. Just because it’s Black Mirror, which has done video game episodes before, I’ll bet it’s a simulation in the same way the Season 4 episode “USS Callister” took place in a mod of a VR game that mimicked a Star Trek-like TV show. Maybe these fighters are also people who have become stuck as avatars, doomed to kick and punch each other until their code degrades.
While Black Mirror has, over time, stretched its premise that “technology is scary” to comical degrees (not to mention you can binge-watch the whole thing on Netflix, one of the most powerful platforms of the new media age), the series is still capable of nuance and brilliance as it had in its first two seasons. “San Junipero” is a classic wholly onto its own, while “USS Callister” had more to say about fantasy escapism via gaming than Ready Player One.
Black Mirror won’t be the only time Ludi Lin appears on Netflix. The actor just wrapped production on Ghost Bride, Netflix’s first original Mandarin series based on Yangsze Choo’s novel The Ghost Bride. Set in 1890s Malacca, a woman is offered to become the “ghost bride” for the deceased son of a wealthy family. In exchange for living a debt-free life, she must be haunted by the ghost of the dead man.
Black Mirror Season 5 will begin streaming on Netflix on June 5.