Thursday, 27 July 2017

Power Rangers

Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, R.J. Cyler, Ludi Lin, and Becky G.

Director: Dean Israelite

124 minutes (12) 2017
Widescreen ratio 2.35:1
Lions Gate blu-ray region B
[Released 31st July]

Rating: 6/10
Review by Donald Morefield

In the wake of the revamped Ninja Turtles movies, Saban’s Power Rangers starts on a Cenozoic era Earth where conflict between injured hero Zordon (Bryan Cranston) versus evil Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks), who chews up any scenery with gusto, is interrupted by a meteor strike that devastates the planet. This is a surprisingly dramatic prologue that’s intended to evoke a legendary tone for what follows, although much of it is quite broadly humorous.       

About 66 million years later, college prankster and aimless quarterback Jason (Dacre Montgomery), the survivor of a car crash, finds himself punished by detention along with other naughty kids, ex-cheerleader Kimberley (Naomi Scott), techie Billy (R.J. Cryler), who is “on the spectrum,” plus lonesome diver Trini (Becky G.), and crazy guy Zack (Ludi Lin). 

Together, they escape from The Breakfast Club (1985) conventions, to embark on a far grander adventure, unearthing power coins, and finding a long-buried alien spaceship crewed by a kind of Mr Explainer droid. Slowly but surely the gang develops, throughout a training schedule, from delinquent friends to a team of demi-gods.

Man Of Steel meets Green Lantern is a measure of this movie’s obvious genre influences, while its super-team origin story is an engagingly worthwhile mythology building exercise - not unlike Transformers and Pacific Rim. For the first 90 minutes, drama is limited to character set-ups, establishing rather than re-building cartoonish icons for a 21st century audience already familiar with Marvel and DC mainstays in live-action extravaganzas. 

Then we get just 20 minutes of visual effects and fighting against an army of zords that combine into a gigantic golden enemy, with young heroes in their colour-coded space rangers' armoured suits (red, pink, blue, black, and yellow), driving ‘dinosaur’ cars that contribute to, if they do not directly cause, massive small-town property damage.

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