This past week, the Power Rangers took the internet by storm in the form of filmmaker Adi Shankar’s ultra-violent fan film. Following some legal issues that saw the film pulled from YouTube for a few days, the short is back online, meaning that fans once again have the opportunity to debate how comfortable they are with a version of MMPR that includes nudity, drugs, graphic violence, and copious profanity!
The former Rangers themselves have plenty to say about the short. Karen Ashley, Amy Jo Johnson, and Johnny Yong Bosch have all spoken positively of the short, while Steve Cardenas was especially impressed with the “parody” of his character Rocky DeSantos, portrayed in the short by James Van Der Beek of “Dawson’s Creek” fame. Jason David Frank, who reprised his role of Tommy Oliver in the current iteration of the series “Power Rangers Mega Force”, was more trepidatious about the dark and violent makeover the film gives to a franchise known to be very kid-friendly, a feeling partially echoed by his fellow former Ranger Walter Jones, though the latter did express positivity about the potential influence the fan film may have on the franchise. Meanwhile, Austin St. John chose to keep his personal opinion of the short private but praised the film on a technical level. You can read all of the former Rangers’ reactions to the fan film here.
Whatever your take on the fan film is, everyone can agree that this isn’t your Daddy’s MMPR. Insert the Rangers into “The Raid“, add a generous helping of slasher movie blood and guts, along with CGI and production values worthy of any big budget sci-fi thriller, and this new take on the show is what comes out. Once teenaged martial arts prodigies chosen to protect the Earth from the forces of darkness, the Rangers are re-imagined here as battle-hardened war veterans with physical and mental scars as a result of their intergalactic war. The short even imitates life to a certain extent with certain elements of the personal lives of former Rangers David Yost and Thuy Trang in its depiction of Billy Cranston and Trini Kwan, respectively.
The upcoming reboot of the long-running Power Rangers franchise will probably add a little spicy stuff to the series, but it’s unlikely that anything sanctioned by Saban Entertainment will go this far. In any case, if you’ve ever wondered what a dark, grim, gritty, violent take on Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers would look like, the new short film just gave the answer!