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…