Fan films are a dime a dozen: the products of passion, creative ambition, and usually very little in the way of money or experience. So it’s a bit odd to see one from a producer with credits on several Hollywood films, or featuring performances from recognizable, beloved actors. And even if these various luminaries did deign to spend their time and money on an unbudgeted ode to pop culture past, you’d think they’d pick a more well-regarded or culturally influential series than Mighty Morphin Power Rangers as their target.
But you’d be wrong. And thus we have Power/Rangers, from Dredd producer Adi Shankar and director Joseph Kahn, who was responsible for, among his many other credits, Muse’s similarly sci-fi nostalgic video for Knights Of Cydonia. The 14-minute-long “deboot” stars James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff as the Red and Pink Rangers, respectively, facing off in an interrogation chamber in a gritty, dystopic future. The pair verbally spar over the whereabouts of the other Rangers, as flashbacks reveal their grisly, not-approved-for-Saturday-morning fates.
14 minutes is a long time to keep watching something solely on the basis of nostalgia, so it’s lucky that Power/Rangers has quite a bit more on offer. This is a remarkably assured little action movie, cribbing notes from action fests like Equilibrium while anchoring everything firmly with Power Rangers references. (Shankar is a pretty big fan of the series, in case that wasn’t apparent.) It’s also not afraid to be dumb as hell—a good thing, because, in case you’re one of those people who skips to the end of articles to find out who the killer is, this is a gritty, violence-filled Power Rangers fan film, and if it took itself seriously the world would probably end.