Home Year 1997 Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)

The same as before, but ever so slightly different.
The same as before, but ever so slightly different.

Twitter Plot Summary: The Power Rangers must defeat a space pirate who intends on releasing an evil being from his volcano-based imprisonment.

Genre: Action/Adventure/Family/Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Thriller

Director: Shuki Levy, David Winning

Key Cast: Jason David Frank, Johnny Yong Bosch, Catherin Sutherland, Nakia Burrise, Blake Foster, Hilary Shepard, Donene Kistler, Winston Richard, Jon Simanton, Danny Wayne, Amy Jo Johnson, Austin St John, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Michael Deak

Five Point Summary:

1. This intro reminds me of Masters Of the Universe. But worse. How is that possible?
2. Ooh goodie, cameos from former Rangers! Boom!
3. They made a kid a Ranger? Srsly?!
4. Say goodbye to the pirate ship.
5. That villain looks really bad. As in “cheap”.

By 1997 the Power Rangers had become a global brand, justifying another movie. Unlike the previous Power Rangers movie from 1995, Turbo does act as a bridging story between Power Rangers Zeo and Power Rangers Turbo, so in this instance it makes sense to watch it before moving onto between the series. If you can stomach the idea, of course. I’ll be honest, by the time Power Rangers Turbo came around I’d already jumped ship from the franchise. In fact I think the 1995 movie may have been the last time I watched it, other than briefly catching a few episodes of Dino Thunder in 2004 because it heralded the return of original Green Ranger Tommy to lead a new batch of teenage protectors of Earth. Based solely on this film, it’s probably a good job I got out when I did.

As any fan of the show will attest to, the action and acting is gloriously over the top, very much a slapstick feel which became a series staple. I think it may have also been intended to reduce the potentially negative feedback that could be associated with a kids TV show that features an excessive number of fights. And that’s hurdle number one that the script falls over – there isn’t actually that much fighting. In fact most of the running time is spent trying to figure out where to look as evil, barely dressed villain Divatox cackles evilly and orders her minions (sadly not that kind of minion) to do her bidding. Meanwhile the Rangers encounter a couple of minor problems that derail their attempts to save Lerigot, a creature who has the power to stop Divatox and her plans to release a malevolent being called Maligor from his volcanic prison. Is everyone still with me? Great. The whole sequence gives off a massive Masters of the Universe vibe, sadly minus a Skeletor or, indeed, anyone with real acting talent.

This is all kinds of disturbing. Don't let him touch you!
This is all kinds of disturbing. Don’t let him touch you!

Unlike the previous film, Turbo feels like an extended TV episode or, perhaps worse, a TV movie. The sets look cheap, the costumes look cheaper (or in the case of Divatox, barely existent), and the script feels like it was hastily cobbled together from an unwanted episode for the TV series and bulked up by mostly irrelevant side sequences and exposition. Not much of any interest or value happens until the final third, and its entire purpose is to set up the new Zords and powers that the Rangers will have in the forthcoming series. By the halfway point I was hoping something interesting would happen, but alas, it didn’t. Little wonder that this killed the franchise as a cinematic venture.

I quite liked the notion of adding a piratey vibe to the Power Rangers mythos but to call this a “film”, even when compared against the original Power Rangers movie, is stretching credulity. Even as a story it lacks logic, gravitas or purpose for the most part. Much like the TV series, you know exactly where the finale is leading and there are no surprises in store other than that one where a couple of former Rangers show up. On reflection, it’s for the best that the Power Rangers franchise has been limited to the television ever since – any future cinematic excursions would need to do something fresh and innovative in order to succeed.

Favourite scene: The big reveal that two former Rangers have been kidnapped!

Quote: “Good thing you don’t need a licence to drive a Zord.”

Silly Moment: The big reveal that a pre-teen is now the Blue Ranger! Humbug.

Is there an Alan Rickman plummet?: Yes

Score: 1.5/5

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