Power Rangers (2 stars)

Power Rangers

Underwhelming movie reboot of the children's superhero show, featuring Elizabeth Banks

Exhuming the 1990s live-action kids' TV show Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, this is the third crack at a big screen outing for the titular superheroes and Dean Israelite's reboot is a curious beast. Quite who it's aimed at is hard to gauge; teens today aren't old enough to remember the original series and those that do will probably find this doesn't deliver the requisite nostalgia. In truth, this is an origin story that, for three-quarters of the movie, is more like The Breakfast Club crossed with Josh Trank's Chronicle.

As if to emphasise its connection to the John Hughes classic, three of the leads even meet at weekend detention: Jason (Dacre Montgomery), Kimberly (Naomi Scott) and the autistic Billy (RJ Cyler). This trio come across their soon-to-be-buddies – truant Zack (Ludi Lin) and new girl Trini (Becky G) – at a local gold mine that Billy is intent on blowing up. Instead, they find five coloured stones, which grant them strength and agility.

It doesn't take long before a deep dive into a canyon leads them to a CG presence named Zordon (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and his robot Alpha 5 (Bill Hader), informing them they're now the Power Rangers and must protect the planet from Zordon's former ally, Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks). Unfortunately these adolescents are not quite ready to morph just yet, despite the obligatory training montage.

It takes an awful long time before the kids are finally suited up in the familiar red, yellow, pink, black and blue armour. By which point, Power Rangers has sunk into the usual ultra-carnage so beloved of the superhero genre. It's as if Israelite (Project Almanac) realised his characters were better value as angsty teens than Day-Glo do-gooders. Banks, at least, has a ball, cackling away as the lunatic, gold-lusting Rita, and the director does treat us to a blast of the classic theme tune. Yet it's a film that never quite finds its footing and powers down long before the end.

General release from Fri 24 Mar.

Power Rangers

  • 2 stars
  • 2017
  • US
  • 2h 4min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Dean Israelite
  • Cast: Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G, Ludi Lin, Bryan Cranston, Elizabeth Banks
  • UK release: 24 March 2017

Five misfit teenagers take too long to bond into a primary-coloured superteam, in this third crack at a cinema version of the TV show. Banks has a ball as the cackling, lunatic villain Rita Repulsa, but it never finds its footing, resorts to the usual superhero ultra-carnage, and powers down long before the end.

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