November 26 [12:00 EDT] -- It may not be mortal combat, but it is a protest.
The soundtrack for this week's No. 1 box office movie, "Mortal Kombat II: Annihilation," featuring metal and industrial artists including Megadeth, KMFDM and Rammstein, is under fire for an unexpected reason: the packaging. The release is the first to use "Bioboxes" as cassette packaging, which anti-smoking advocates say looks far too much like cigarette boxes.
The Bioboxes are set to replace plastic cassette containers, and, according to the New York Post, help revive the sagging cassette industry. The cellophane-wrapped cardboard cartons printed with artist logos and artwork look very similar to cigarette packages. The inventor in fact freely admits that he got the idea from fondling a package of Marlboros.
Anti-smoking leagues are accusing the music industry of influencing the nation's youth, who are the main consumers of the cassettes, to light up.
"Kids still think it's pretty
cool to smoke," one teen education worker told the Post. "The Biobox is just one more way of communicating to kids that smoking is an acceptable and normal behavior for them." A spokeman for the American Lung Association told the paper, "It's deplorable. It's a marketing gimmick that takes advantage of teen smoking."
While "Mortal Kombat II: Annihilation" may be the first to feature the packaging, it won't be the last. A number of releases from dance, pop and rock artists are on their way to retailers.
Meanwhile, the soundtrack is proving popular for its musical content. Highlights include a Danny Saber remix of Megadeth's "Almost Honest," KMFDM's "Megalomanic," "Engel" by the much discussed Rammstein (now reportedly signed to Trent Reznor's nothing records), and tracks by Scooter, Pitchshifter, Psykosonic, Juno Reactor, Manbreak, Cirrus, Urban Voodoo, Lunatic Calm, The Future Sound Of London and others. The Theme From Mortal Kombat is provided by The Immortals, and
the score is by George S. Clinton.