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Power Rangers

It’s easy being cynical about movie franchises. Each instalment is set up to grab more box office dollars and offer a plethora of spin-off merchandising. The ‘X-Men’, ‘Spider-Man’ and ‘James Bond’ series are some who have successfully extended their popularity beyond cinema screens. Created as a TV and merchandising franchise and in 1993, the ‘Mighty Morphin Power Rangers’ arrived to capture children’s hearts and parent’s wallets. After two films in the late ‘90’s squeezed more filthy lucre, a new one comes to re-energise the series and producers’ bank balance.

A group of alien warriors, the Power Rangers, must protect a magical crystal in order to maintain peace on earth. After a fierce battle, they entrust the crystal to five human newcomers. Among them are Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberley (Naomi Scott) and Billy (RJ Cyler). Together they must face against the evil alien warrior Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Learning skills in order to defeat her, the Power Rangers suit up in a fight for earth’s survival no matter the cost.

‘Power Rangers’ is enjoyable nonsense in spite of itself. One could easily pick apart the silly plot, dodgy acting and wonky direction. That would be a disservice as the film exists purely to entertain and keep an ongoing franchise alive. It does this with ease as the Ranger’s origin story is handled well by director Dean Israelite. He ensures the screenplay has a light but semi-serious tone. This enables genuine investment in the character’s backstory which gives them depth by highlighting the theme of the importance of teamwork.

The performances are satisfactory without being embarrassing. Some are better than others although Banks is clearly relishes the chance to play such a wicked role. She knows there is no way she could play a person like Rita Repulsa in an under-stated fashion so goes for it full throttle. The CGI is surprisingly excellent and the action is fine too. The obvious product placement is occasionally jarring with Krispy Kreme apparently a key stake-holder in getting this made.

Not as appalling as feared ‘Power Rangers’ does an adequate job in re-building an ageing series. It leaves room for sequels which, if done in the solid fashion here, should soften even the most hardened cynics of movie money makers.

Rating out of 10: 6

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