Over the past few weeks there has been a short video going around the internet. I’m, of course talking about Power/Rangers fan film. For those of you who haven’t seen it let me explain what it is: it is, simply, a violent, gritty retake on the Power Rangers series. A kid’s show turned into a violent action movie.
Reactions to the short film have been mixed, some fans loved it, others hated it. Even among the original actors there were vast differences of opinion, Jason David Frank ( Green Ranger, White Ranger) didn’t like it, while Amy Jo Johnson (Pink ranger) and Steve Cardenas (second Red Ranger) both loved it. Shortly after it’s release Saban forced the removal of all copies from YouTube and Vimeo due to a copyright claim and tried to bury any mention of it due to their worries that it might be mistaken for their planned future Power Rangers film or otherwise “damage the brand.” The claim was overturned due to it being an overgrown fan project and not a profit driven enterprise.
This video is simply a love letter to the now adult kids who grew up watching MMPR after school for years. You can tell that Adi Shankar and Joseph Kahn really put a lot of heart into it. The story (without giving too much away) was great. The visuals were tight, and the acting was top notch. Van der Beek and Sackhoff really brought the same level of commitment to a fifteen minute short film that they did on the full length movies that they’ve done.
Before filming began, Shankar and Kahn approached Jason David Frank and asked him to reprise the role of the Tommy Oliver (something he has done several times, most recently with the Super Power Beat Down series by Bat in the Sun.) He turned them down, mostly because he didn’t like the amount of cursing and the level of violence. I kind of wish they’d gone to Cardenas, Johnson and a few of the others as well, not only would some of them probably have said yes, but it would have been nice to see the band get back together for one last show.
Now for the film itself, and I’ll avoid as many spoilers as possible.
It is exactly what a dark take on Power Rangers should be. It picks up about fifteen years after they’ve been forced to disband and have gone their separate ways. I almost hate to say this, but the short has more story depth in fifteen minutes than the entire first three seasons of the series combined. The special effects are good without being overdone (except for one scene which did kind of stray into Michael Bay territory, but there was no way that wasn’t going to happen with that part.) The two main fight scene in the movie are fast, and well choreographed. They are much more violent than they would have been in the series, but they still maintain the same entertaining, over the top feel to them. I also liked the nods to the events in the original actors real lives.
On the downside, except for a few brief shots during the flashback scenes, they only show one of the rangers fully morphed. I wish that the film had been about five minutes longer with one more fight scene thrown in at the beginning to show the Rangers at their height. Also, I wasn’t satisfied with the reveal at the end, although getting Carla Perez, the only actor from the original series to reprise her role for the short, was great.
In conclusion: I loved it, but it could have had a little more to it. I give the Power/Rangers short film four out of five.