lördag 17 juni 2017

Power Rangers

I was a very big fan of fighting games back in the 90´s. I played Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter games for hours, and i loved many of the characters. I also loved Tekken of course, because Tekken had some of the best graphics at that time. Hollywood knew this could be a great cash in, so of course movie studios decided to make movies, based on video game characters. Some of you might remember the 1993 film Super Mario Bros with Bob Hoskins and Dennis Hopper ? Wow, this is a really awful film. And the film studios made more films based on video games. How about Double Dragon or Street Fighter with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Kylie Minogue ? But then something happened. We actually got a film that was better than expected. The movie adaptation of Mortal Kombat by director Paul W.S. Anderson did manage to capture some of the feeling of the game, and included many of the game characters. I still today consider this film to be one of the only good film adaptations, based on a video game. But martial arts in the 90´s did not make a name only by Jean-Claude Van Damme´s classic action films. A tv show called Power Rangers, became very popular Super Sentai Series from Japan. The 1993 american tv show, based on the Japanese source material, was a huge success, and kids loved the colorful fighting Power Rangers. Toys and merchandise with Power Rangers also sold very well, it was clear that the concept worked very well for a young generation. A movie based on the tv series was released in 1995, simply called Mighty Morphy Power Rangers: The Movie. Since the film was a box office hit, a sequel was made. Of course none of these films were any good. And to be honest, i never have been a fan of the tv series. I only remember seeing some episodes on Saturday mornings in my youth, if nothing else was on tv. When i heard last year that a new film was going to be released, based on the classic popular tv show, i was very skeptical. How on earth can you bring Power Rangers back on screen after 20 years ? It did not sound like a good idea. But then i saw a trailer, and was actually surprised. This new film adaptation actually looked better than i expected. A trailer can look good, but it does not always guarantee a great film. I just had to give the new Power Rangers film a chance, to see if i would be hooked on this new version. With no high expectations at all, is this Power Rangers film the best in the film series so far, or is this another example why you should leave teen tv show adaptations alone ?

In the Cenozoik-era, The Power Rangers are set out to protect life on Earth, including the Zero Crystal. The Green Ranger, Rita Repulsa ( Elizabeth Banks ), betrays the Power Rangers, and plan to dominate the universe. The Red Ranger, Zordon ( Bryan Cranston ), survives Rita´s attack and hides five of the Power Rangers source power, The Power Coins. Zordon orders Alpha 5 to perform a meteor strike, killing him and send Rita to the bottom of the sea. In present day, high school football star Jason Scott ( Dacre Montgomery ) is dismissed from the team, and placed under house arrest for a failed prank. In school detention, Jason meet Billy Cranston ( RJ Cycler ) and Kimberly Hart ( Naomi Scott ) Since Jason helped Billy from being bullied, Billy offer Jason some help, to make sure his ankle monitor does not send out any alarm. It works, and now Jason can move outside as much as he want.  Because Billy helped Jason, in return he asks Jason for help at an old gold mine. Billy detonate explosions, removing a lot of rocks. Students Trini ( Becky G ) and Zack ( Ludi Lin ) are also on location, and witness something unique. The five young people pick up Power Coins, that Zordon hided a long time ago. The evil Rita awakens from the ocean, and she plans to finish her mission. The teenagers manage to locate an ancient space ship, that is lying underground. Here they come in contact with Alpha 5 and Zordon´s consciousness. Since the young teenagers found a coin each, this means they have been chosen to be the next generation of Power Rangers. They must learn to defend themselves and also prepare to face their biggest fear, Rita. She is ready to destroy the wold, unless someone dares to stand against her.

Films based on popular tv kids shows is usually not my thing. We have seen many examples of this happening before, who remember the awful film adaptation of Jem And The Holograms ? You might think making a new movie adaptation of Power Rangers would fall flat to the ground. I am happy to say that, this film is actually not as bad as you might think. This is an science fiction action film, thought to be for fans of the Power Rangers, as well as teenagers. But after watching this film, i can tell you that even adults who love science fiction action might enjoy this film. It is silly, and does include a lot of CGI, but not all turns out to be negative. The young actors are actually not bad. And how often do you see teenagers do good characters very often ? Exactly, this is something we don´t see very often. There is especially one of the characters i enjoy, who is called Billy Cranston ( played by RJ Cyler ). He is a very nerdy character, who is filled with a lot of knowledge. His scenes does make an impact in the team. Thanks to a good cast, who seem to have a good chemistry on screen, the Power Rangers become more fun to watch. There is plenty of action scenes later on in the film, and if you love to see martial arts mixed with science fiction, then this could actually work. Director Dean Israelite is perhaps mostly known for his directorial debut film Project Almanac. It was actually a pleasant surprise, with the idea of teenagers travelling in time from a home made time machine. In some ways, i can understand why he would choose to make a remake of Power Rangers, because he clearly loves science fiction with his debut film Project Almanac. This new film includes a much bigger budget project, and this gives director Dean Israelite a very big challenge, to try and please fans of Powers Rangers, but also please science fiction fans. He does manage to surprise me, because my expectations were not very high. So i am glad he have tried to make a film that keep the feeling of Power Rangers, but make it more serious than the 90´s tv show. The main villain Rita Repulsa, played by actor Elizabeth Banks, is very over the top. And i don´t mind that she is, makes the film a bit more fun. If you never enjoyed Power Rangers from the 90´s, then i doubt you will care about this film. But if you can watch a film with an open mind, then this updated version could actually please you. Power Rangers does what it sets out to do, find an audience that enjoy simple action films. And that has to be a good sign, especially when it is done in a positive way.

Rating: DDD

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