Studios can hem and haw for years over the matter of whether or not to give a character like Venom his own feature film or whether to make a sequel to a movie like Dredd, before ultimately deciding that it’s not worth the risk. Luckily for fans of R rated cult hits and badly-behaved characters, producer Adi Shankar has been scratching that itch with his Bootleg series of one-shots, which so far have included The Punisher: Dirty Laundry, Venom: Truth in Journalism and Judge Dredd: Superfiend.
Shankar’s latest Bootleg is Power/Rangers, a short film that takes the beloved 1990s kids show about high schoolers who dress up in colorful costumes to fight increasingly silly space monsters and moves it forward into a dark, gritty, violent future. James Van Der Beek plays an older version of Red Power Ranger Rocky DeSantos, who has switched sides in the intervening years and is interrogating former Pink Power Ranger Kimberley Hart (Katee Sackhoff) to learn the location of Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver (Russ Bain).
The result is simultaneously awesome and excruciating for anyone who grew up watching the Power Rangers fight Rita Repulsa and Lord Zedd’s collection of giant monsters. It’s tongue-in-cheek enough to not be completely cringeworthy, and there is something fascinating about seeing the story of the Power Rangers through the lens of a bloody R rated action movie. It’s probably best left as a fun short film rather than a big budget feature, though; seeing the Power Rangers using guns is profoundly disturbing.
There actually is a big budget Power Rangers movie reboot on the way, set for release next summer with a screenplay penned by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz (X-Men: First Class). It’s probably not going to look anything like Power/Rangers, but since it’s still without a director perhaps Lionsgate and Saban should be considering Joseph Kahn for the job.
Now is probably a good time to sit down for a marathon of goofy old Power Rangers episode, to see if it’s possible to scrub your childhood memories clean again.