Remember those adverts that used to play to us when we were kids? The fast-paced, Saturday morning toy commercials that just shout at you for 30 seconds? Well, Dean Israelite’s Power Rangers is reminiscent of such merchandising, yet if you can get beneath the loud noises and emphatically overstated nature of this film, there’s much enjoyment to be had, for all the family. Well, at least after the opening joke being about masturbating a cow with two hands it is, anyway.
Power Rangers Video Review
Jason (Dacre Montgomery) is one of the most promising athletes at school, but finds his future compromised when indulging in illegal activity, winding up in weekend detention alongside other reprobates. It’s here he meets the autistic Billy (RJ Cyler) and Kimberly (Naomi Scott) forming a friendship with the pair, as they set off to a nearby scrapheap to hang out. They stumble across Zack (Ludi Lin) and Trini (Becky G.), and when Billy accidentally blows up some of the landscape, they uncover an old alien ship, and having acquired superpowers, they soon discover they are tasked with saving the universe, picked by Zordon (Bryan Cranston) as the new Power Rangers. But with the maleficent Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) causing havoc and killing innocent civilians, they must morph into their outfits soon, before it’s too late to stop her.
Given this is set up as a new origin picture, there is naturally much fun that derives from discovering how these young heroes came to be the Power Rangers, though it has been executed in a distinctly contrived manner. But it works well having teenagers in the leading roles, for not only does it enhance that sense of youthful courage/stupidity, but also allows for us to adhere to their willingness to go along for the ride. Anyone over the age of 25 would call bullshit, take one long look at Bryan Cranston’s face coming out of a wall and return back to work. Plus, given the target demographic, it should find this to be a tale that resonates more so with its audience.
The build up is prolonged needlessly however, and by the time they do acquire their super powers there’s not much time left, culminating in a finale that feels somewhat rushed in its approach. If there’s a sequel – which surprisingly, is not the worst idea ever – it could see a more seamless transition and thrive more in the action sequences, without having the burden on a lengthy set-up.
Away from the grandiosity of this production, we are celebrating the protagonist’s lifestyles in a progressive way, heroising a child with autism (Billy), while one of the Rangers is gay (Trini). But a good hero is nothing without a strong adversary to come up against, and Banks is fantastic as Rita Repulsa, emblematic of the playful tone, making for a pantomime villain of sorts; over-the-top and eccentric, and yet with a dark edge that ensures the quirkiness of the role doesn’t compromise on the severity of her nefarious endeavour.
This all signals to a film that, while immensely flawed, thrives in its inanity, and the reason why this works where other blockbusters of a similar nature have failed, is because it’s a tone that is implemented in a knowing, affectionate manner – completely aware of its absurdity and irreverence, which lets it off the hook in several instances, and ensures the viewer is in for a rather entertaining ride.