The Power Rangers have become a cultural phenomenon recognizable worldwide. They reached the height of their fame shortly after their debut and have since become nostalgic icons for many people who grew up in the 90’s. Mighty Morphin Power Rangers debuted on television in the summer of 1993 and was an instant hit. It had everything a starry-eyed kid could want in a show: martial arts, flashy weapons, giant robots (that could combine to make even bigger robots) and monsters; it blew every child’s tiny little mind!
Who could fathom that combining footage from the Japanese Super Sentai series and original footage with an American cast would be a winning formula? The show’s skyrocketing popularity only meant one thing, that a theatrical movie was inevitable, thus giving rise to “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie” on June 30, 1995.
The cast from the TV show reprise their roles for the film; Jason David Frank as Tommy Oliver (The White Ranger), Johnny Yong Bosch as Adam Park (The Black Ranger), David Yost as Billy Cranston (The Blue Ranger), Steve Cardenas as Rocky DeSantos (The Red Ranger), Karan Ashley as Aisha Campbell (The Yellow Ranger), and Amy Jo Johnson as Kimberly Hart (The Pink Ranger). Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy also reprise their roles from the TV series as the bumbling bullies Bulk and Skull. Paul Freeman, perhaps best known for playing Dr. René Belloq in Indiana Jones, “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, portrays the film’s villain Ivan Ooze.
Two days before the passing of Ryan’s Comet, a giant egg is accidentally unearthed at a construction site in Angel Grove. Lord Zedd, Rita Repulsa, and Goldar arrive and free Ivan Ooze, a morphological being that ruled the Earth as a tyrant some 6,000 years ago until he was overthrown and imprisoned by Zordon.
The Rangers move in to intercept him, but Ivan Ooze is able to escape and lays siege to the Command Center, robbing the Rangers of their powers. The Rangers return to the Command Center only to find a dying Zordon.
The Rangers learn of “the Great Power” on the distant planet of Phaedos; the only thing that can save Zordon and restore their powers. It is now a race against the clock as the Rangers must obtain the Great Power without the use of their powers to save Zordon and foil Ivan Ooze’s dastardly scheme before it takes shape!
The fight choreography is essentially a bigger-budget version of what is seen in the show, which, while cheesy, overly acrobatic, and extremely flamboyant, some would argue is the appeal of the Power Rangers in the first place. It’s like a Universal Studios stunt show, but faster and with more finesse.
To the film’s credit, they put their cast to great use, as all of them are either martial artists or gymnasts.
Steve Cardenas has a background in Taekwondo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Johnny Yong Bosch trained in kung fu from an early age.
David Yost and Amy Jo Johnson have both studied gymnastics, and their training can be seen in many of the fight scenes when they execute various flashy moves like back handsprings to evade their opponents. David Yost in particular makes heavy use of the kip up, which is most commonly seen in stunt choreography and is not necessarily something that is actively taught in martial arts.
Jason David Frank has had extensive martial arts training from a young age in a variety of styles, including Karate, Taekwondo, Judo, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Jeet Kune Do just to name a few – so to say the man is well-trained would be an understatement.
A tell-tale sign of Jason’s training is when he uses a length of steel rebar as a makeshift staff, executing the swift and snappy strikes that are indicative of how Karate and Taekwondo handle the staff. In contrast, Shaolin Kung Fu for example uses the staff with more circular and fluid techniques, with aggressive attacks, counters, dynamic footwork, and whirling blocks.
“Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers: The Movie” is the perfect popcorn flick for you (and the family) and perfectly encapsulates the cultural zeitgeist that birthed it. Yep, it’s cheesy, it’s corny, it’s funky and unapologetically represents what the 90’s were all about. So why not rewind to your childhood some 20 years back and give it a watch as a guilty pleasure. Once a ranger, always a ranger – it’s Morphin Time!
- Johnny Yong Bosch had to do many of his own stunts because his stunt double had broken his leg.
- Johnny Yong Bosch is also known for his voiceover work on anime and video games, such as Ichigo Kurosaki in “Bleach”, Lelouch vi Britannia in “Code Geass”, Vash the Stampede in “Trigun”, Yang in “Street Fighter IV”, Kung Jin in “Mortal Kombat X” and Nero in the Devil May Cry series.
- Paul Freeman ad-libbed many of his lines to add more comedy to his character.
- The film is the first Power Rangers feature with 100% new material, as the TV show uses footage from the Japanese Super Sentai series for the action scenes.
- Austin St. John, Thuy Trang, and Walter Jones (the original Red, Yellow, and Black Rangers) were originally slated to star in the film, but they had left the TV show due to contract disputes and were replaced with Steve Cardenas, Karan Ashely, and Johnny Yong Bosch.
- Filming took place in Sydney, Australia.
- Ivan Ooze’s Tengu Warriors are based on creatures found in Japanese folklore of the same name.
- The Power Rangers costumes were revamped and made to look more armor-like for the film; each suit weighed 40 pounds.