Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (DVD Review)

PG – 99mins – 1997


Even after my recent rewatch of childhood favourite Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie, it was a bold decision for me to “return” to the sequel as this was in actuality my first viewing. By 1997 even I couldn’t kid myself anymore: I was far too old for all this camp zord-versus-giant-alien gubbins, so I never watched this follow-up feature when it was initially released.

Of course I would look on the movie with a more mature, critical eye now, but I still can’t imagine even the adolescent fanboy in me being impressed by this absolute disaster. Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is a far cry from the franchise’s original theatrical release; the look more in keeping with the cheap-as-chips TV series (spandex suits, model backdrops, actors in flimsy costumes) as opposed to the more polished (read: expensive) effects employed in 1995’s The Movie.

Furthermore, Turbo doesn’t stand on its own all that brilliantly either, slotting into the show’s continuity rather than being a direct feature sequel, so there are different Rangers using different power sources from first time around.

There are infinitesimal cameos from popular former foes Rita Repulsa and her inside-out husband Lord Zedd, but Turbo otherwise introduces new adversaries in the form of underwater dominatrix Divatox (Hilary Shepard Turner) and her dorky mutant cronies.

Appearances by original Pink and Red Rangers Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) and Jason (Austin St. John) are welcome callbacks to the original players, even if their in-universe reasons for showing up is wholly contrived, while the introduction of a new Blue Ranger in the form of a child (Blake Foster) who magically grows to adult proportions when he morphs is absurd.

The story, meanwhile, is a horridly over-complicated planet-hopping mess made even more impenetrable by an abundance of unpronounceable peeps ranting on about jargonous nonsense. “Pure” sacrifices to alien overlords, dimensional barriers, keys to open portals and spectral pirate ghost ships (!!) – apparently the film originally weighed in at a staggering three hours and half the guff was (rightfully) scrapped.

While initially touted as a worldwide theatrical release, Turbo was dropped in a number of territories and released direct to home video instead. Can’t say I’m surprised…

CR@B Verdict: 1 star

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Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie (DVD Review)

PG – 95mins – 1995


IT’S MORPHIN’ TIME!

Even at the ripe old age of 31 I can still be a nostalgic old fool at times, and I enjoy nothing more than to sink back into the comfort of my film and televisual favourites from yesteryear. With the TV series still continuing in its gazillionth incarnation and a much-hyped big screen reboot due in January 2017, I decided to do some revision on a ’90s phenomenon.

I’m not ashamed to admit (although I probably should be) that I used to be a bit of a Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers nut growing up. Even then I was probably just a little too old for the colourful fantasy superhero show, but that didn’t stop me becoming quite obsessed with those intergalactic arse-kickers in their spandex suits and dino-helmets. Action figures, video cassettes, notebooks, backpacks, plastic swords – you name it, I owned it.

Regardless of its quality, this 1995 big screen outing was always destined to be a massive hit, and when viewed through “kid goggles” it does the brand name proud. It sticks to the tried and tested template – an extra-terrestrial evildoer is unleashed who threatens world domination before the teenagers with attitude and their megazords roll up to show them whose boss. Padding comes in the form of an additional quest narrative to track down new ninja powers after the Rangers’ secret HQ is invaded and their original powers drained, but it goes about proceedings with elevated panache.

Bigger (budget) and better (sets and effects – although the early CGI is still rather too obvious) than ever before, MMPR: The Movie is infectiously overconfident, the script bursting with snappy putdowns and droll banter from both good and evil quarters. Big bad Ivan Ooze (Paul Freeman) is a great mix of mad, menacing and mocking, even if tradition dictates that he doesn’t stand a chance against Angel Grove’s most athletic students. Parents will quickly sicken of the constant need for every second of screen time to be filled with absurd asides and inane dialogue, but they can’t deny this isn’t bombastically entertaining eye candy.

CR@B Verdict: 3 stars