Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie (1997)

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In 1997, the series Power Rangers Zeo was coming to an end. What better way to kick off the next Power Rangers series with a full-length feature film that has a very shocking twist and the return of an original Ranger without her powers.

Angel Grove has been the home of the Power Rangers, protectors of the Earth against the likes of Rita Repulsa, Lord Zedd, and even Ivan Ooze. Their latest challenge comes in the form of Divatox, an evil space pirate hellbent on releasing an ancient warrior known as Maligore from his imprisonment in a volcano on the island of Maranthias. In order to complete her mission, Divatox must kidnap the kind alien warrior Lerigot, who has the key to release Maligore. It is up to the Rangers, Red Zeo Ranger Tommy; Green Zeo Ranger Adam; Yellow Zeo Ranger Tanya; and Pink Zeo Ranger Katherine to protect Lerigot from Divatox and her minions.

During training for a martial arts competition, Blue Zeo Ranger Rocky injures himself and is deemed unable to assist the Rangers. The Rangers soon learn that in case Maligore is released, the Rangers’ Zeo powers will be useless. Therefore, they must now gain new powers and become the Turbo Power Rangers. Still wearing their Zeo colors, the Turbo Power Rangers have new vehicular Zords and now much head to Maranthias to stop Divatox. Meanwhile, Rocky’s replacement as the Blue Ranger has arrived in the form of pre-teen youngster Justin, which shocks everyone.

Divatox has kidnapped former Power Rangers Jason and Kimberly during a diving expedition along with resident airhead bullies Bulk and Skull in exchange for Lerigot. Duped into thinking the exchange will take place, Divatox has everyone under her grasp and she intends to release Maligore and weark havoc on the world.

This action packed sequel is a step up from the original in terms of mainly its action sequences. The plot is still pretty much child’s play, but this is a children’s action film we are talking about. The Ranger characters are derived from the 1996 Super Sentai series Gekisou Sentai Carranger.

While the original Power Rangers Zeo team appear in the film, one can’t help but be stunned at the injury sustained by Steve Cardenas’ Rocky character. As the original replacement for Austin St. John as the Red Ranger, Cardenas has superb martial arts skills, and his absence may have made the film somewhat inferior. However, 11-year old Blake Foster, a martial artist who was discovered while training, takes over suitably as the new Blue Ranger. He is obviously doubled when he is in Ranger form (a cue from the Kibaranger of 1993’s Gosei Sentai Dairanger, in which Kibaranger was actually a kid as well), but Foster gets to strut his martial arts skills in one fight scene.

This time around, replacing veteran Jeff Pruitt is Alpha Stunts co-founder Koichi Sakamoto heading the fight choreography this time around. Bringing his unique style of costumed combat that helped make the sequel Guyver 2: Dark Hero a more exciting sequel than its predecessor, Sakamoto and the Alpha Stunts team did a great job with the fights much like the way Pruitt unleashed his excellent choreography skills in the original film.

However, the kicker here as to why this may be seen as a more superior sequel is the finale, pitting the oversized Maligore against the new TurboMegazord. Where the first film had ridiculous looking computer effects to showcase the Megazord, in this film, the producers decided to do it in true Japanese tokukatsu form. It truly works here as it does with the Power Rangers universe and is far better to see than the cheesy computer graphics that could have potentially ruined the PR world.

In the end, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is a superior sequel over its predecessor, especially with the true form of tokukatsu replacing horrific CGI effects.

WFG RATINGB+

20th Century Fox presents a Saban Films production. Directors: Shuki Levy and David Winning. Producer: Jonathan Tzachor. Writers: Shuki Levy and Shell Danielson; based on the television series “Power Rangers” created by Haim Saban and Shuki Levy; based on “Gekisou Sentai Carranger” by Toei Co. Limited. Cinematography: Ilan Rosenberg. Editing: Henry Richardson and B.J. Sears.

Cast: Johnny Yong Bosch, Nakia Burrise, Steve Cardenas, Black Foster, Jason David Frank, Catherine Sutherland, Jon Simanton, Hilary Sheperd-Turner, Austin St. John, Amy Jo Johnson, Paul Schrier, Jason Narvy, Ed Neil, Carla Perez.

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