Power Rangers

When five teenagers manage stumble across a long-hidden spaceship, while on a jaunt away from detention they get a little more than they bargained for. The crew of misfits manage to find five glowing coins, luckily there was enough for one each, which endow them with super powers. Unfortunately, things don’t stop there, you can’t have super powers without a super villain intent on destroying the world. Under the guidance of Zordon (Bryan Cranston) the gang must learn how to use their powers, and to become better friends in order to stop Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Power ranging ensues.

I think I’m probably just outside the age range to be a peak Power Rangers fan, I was aware of it and I’d watch it occasionally. I was aware who the Green Ranger was but I was never what you’d call a huge fan. It was definitely hard to avoid the lure of the Power Rangers though, bright coloured costumes, massive robots, really camp and over the top villains and more importantly it was something that felt comic book/superhero-y at a time when superhero franchises were quite thin on the ground.

The story is fairly standard stuff, Zordon was the original Red Power Ranger and he died while trying to protect the Earth from Rita, who it turns out used to be a Power Ranger herself. Fast forward 65 million years and it’s down to a new team of Rangers to stuff the resurrected Rita Repulsa (possibly the cheesiest name in the franchise). The new team manages to include all of your typical high school stereotypes, like some supercharged, spandex clad version of the Breakfast Club. There’s Jason Lee Scott (Dacre Montgomery) the one time high school football star who had an unfortunate incident with a bull. There’s Kimberly Hart (Naomi Scott) a fallen cheerleader who is having a tough time with her former friends over some kind of Snapchat-esque incident. Billy Cranston (RJ Cyler) is the nerdy, science-y kid of the group who has been given autism for noughties. Trini (Becky G) is the outcast of the group, who struggles to make friends and fit in. Finally, there’s Zack (Ludi Lin) the supposedly crazy, wild kid who really has a heart of gold and looks after his sick mother. It’s a who’s who of teen movie cliches.

But let’s face it the Power Rangers is not something you watch for superb characterisation and nuanced performances. I wanted to see some martial arts fun and some big robots hit things. Sadly, there’s not as much of the former as I would like and definitely not enough of the latter. There is the obligatory training montage where the gang get to grips with their powers and then they do some kicks and flips to take down some low level baddies. That’s about it for any martial arts fun. The giant robots (or Zords to use Ranger speak) only make a very fleeting appearance towards the end. Definitely more robots punching things required.

Power Rangers isn’t a bad film, it’s just not brilliant either. It is a lot more fun than something like Transformers, in that it’s quite lighthearted, there’s some good but infrequent action and Elizabeth Banks is lots of fun. It’s somewhere between Pacific Rim and The Breakfast Club, which as unusual mix but good fun all the same. It was good to see a franchise reboot like this that didn’t feel the need to go completely grimdark with a palette of browns and greys.

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