Power/Rangers is a 2015 short fan film by produced by Adi Shankar as part of his “Bootleg Universe” series of short films; it was directed by Joseph Kahn and surprisingly stars well-known actors Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek . This film coincidentally released around the same time a 2017 feature length film based off of the Power Rangers franchise was announced. Despite the short being extremely well-received, it was soon hit by copyright notices and disappeared from the internet for three days until Shankar won a brief legal battle. Its thunderous entrance and sudden quiet exit seemed only to add to the film’s viral popularity. When this film released in February 2015, my friend texted me “You need to go watch this Power Rangers thing RIGHT NOW!!!” Power Rangers is a ridiculous children’s franchise that neither of us enjoyed; we thought it was stupid even as kids. I was surprised when he sent me that text, so I, with extreme skepticism, jumped online and watched the short.
The Power Rangers franchise concerns a group of teenagers recruited by someone to fight as the Power Rangers, superheroes with special abilities (including piloting giant mechanized battle suits). The different rangers are all different colors.
In the short, it is revealed that the Rangers lost the war against the Machines and a truce was negotiated. Rocky (Van Der Beek), the former leader of the Rangers (Red) has defected to the machine empire and is searching for his predecessor, Tommy Oliver. He has captured Oliver’s former flame Kimberly (Sackhoff), the former Pink Ranger. Rocky reveals that their former teammates are being brutally assassinated one by one, and he thinks Tommy is behind it; Kimberly is bait to lure Tommy out of hiding. Tommy shows up and defeats Rocky, only to find that Kimberly is Rita Repulsa in disguise.
The first Power Rangers entry, Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, premiered in 1993. The principal audience of that series are now in their late 20’s and early 30’s. They don’t want this anymore…
Or at least I don’t…. I want this.
But I don’t think we’re gonna get that in 2017. Power Rangers is definitely a children’s franchise… I’m not saying it isn’t. But it is a 1990’s children’s franchise. Those kids have grown up, they’re the same people that love John Wick, Mad Max, and Kingsmen; movies that are violently gritty and hilariously self-aware at the exact same time, just like this short. I dunno if kids today even know who the Power Rangers are. I understand why the Power Rangers can’t be this way in 2017, but it would probably net a lot more money than it will as a child-marketed movie. The casting for the 2017 film does look very good with Bryan Cranston along for the ride, though. Maybe it won’t be as bad as I’m predicting.