Funny story, when I was in my 20s I had long hair I usually wore tied back, I used to look like Jason from the POWER RANGERS TV SHOW at the time. Kid’s used to approach me and ask if I was Jason. I had to say, “I am but not the Jason you think.” I quite enjoyed the total cheesiness of POWER RANGERS and it was fun watching when smoking a lot of weed haha. Talk about confessions in an opening! Well after 25yrs in continuous production the POWER RANGERS are coming back to the big screen in their third outing, this time a reboot of the story with a HUGE BUDGET. It releases Thur 23rd March in Australia from Roadshow, it is rated M (surprisingly) and runs for 128mins.
POWER RANGERS PLOT:
Angst ridden high school outcasts stumble upon an old alien ship, where they acquire superpowers and are dubbed the Power Rangers. Learning that an old enemy of the previous rangers’ generation has returned to exact vegenance, the group must harness their powers and use them to work together and save the universe.
It’s a pretty common theme these days but you know what – it works.
POWER RANGERS is 25yrs old this year and a movie was inevitable. I remember hearing they were making this and laughing. To me it has always been the cheesy lines, tight lycra and poor fight sequences with lots of acrobatics. Could they make it seriously good? I actually think they did – well for me anyways.
Dean Israelite directed a little art-house sci-fi in 2015 called PROJECT ALMANAC. It was about angst ridden teens who find blue prints to a device that allows them to time travel. Michael Bay produced it, and now Bay is also producing this one. Makes a lot of sense – the entire movie looks like TRANSFORMERS JNR. There is even a reference or two in the script. “Sorry Bumblebee.”
They got the cast right, but more on them later. They got the origin movie factor right, do you know the plans are for this to be a multi film franchise? I think we may get one sequel and while I really would like this to be financially viable I just can’t see it being a cash cow.
They got the music nailed, a perfectly timed Kanye POWER was the start of their great superhero battle. And an audience laugh erupted on the credits with Snap’s THE POWER. They also nailed the references with respect to the past and present. The one scene when they first land in a fight in suits was pure TV cheese and their first race to the battle in their creature vehicles played the original song. I cheered for that haha. The final thing they got right – was the choreography, total pro fight choreography that puts the TV show to shame, also apparently puts Marvel’s IRON FISH choreography out to pasture.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK:
The training and introduction to them becoming fully fledged rangers takes too long. As an origin story it works as long as there are more movies in the story, and to be honest, I liked the training scenes and the kids.
They also failed on their target audience. If they wanted to appeal to the younger kids who still idolise the show then they needed a PG rating. If they wanted it to appeal to the adults of the world who either loved it back in the day or may be interested in it now then it needed to be more adult. It is for this I don’t think it will be a huge success. I am fine with it, I enjoyed it, I was happy with the story but I watch everything.
Kids under ten won’t be able to see it because parents will most likely say no to the M rating and eighteen year old kids will think it is too uncool to see, so the audience just got slapped and bums on seats got cut. It needed to be darker or lighter, not trying to accommodate both parties.
I loved the cast, great angsty teenagers and a delightful villain. The robot was fun, of too childish, and I do hope to see more of the cast.
Dacre Montgomery as Jason aka Red Power Ranger was from the same human mould as Chris Pine. I literally had to look it up, thinking them related. He has the looks, the cheek and the charisma, he will do nicely. You will be seeing more of him soon. He is in this year’s STRANGER THINGS. RJ CYLER as Billie aka Blue Power Ranger was my favourite. His comic timing is genius and it took me while to realise where I knew him from. He is Earl, from ME, EARL AND THE DYING GIRL. I want more of him on film. The other cast are all part of the team and all admirable in their roles.
Then there is Elizabeth Banks. A goddess in whatever she does but oddly I wanted her more over the top in this. Her character is batshit insane but we have seen her more insane in previous roles. She definitely added a nice strength to the cast but really it was a CGI studio movie and she was a lot more about looking megalomaniac fallen superhero nuts than delivering lines to the effect.
POWER RANGERS was fun for me. For its origins as a low budget TV show cheesefest they have delivered a damn fine movie. If you expect high grade DARK KNIGHT you will be disappointed and if you expect something your 8yr old will want to see then you could be on the money as long as you are fine with them seeing an M rated movie. I would take an 8yr old to this FYI. As far as superhero movies go it is not even close to the worst in the last couple of years. It’s morphin’ time.
Jason King owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. ** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.