Desert Thunder ready to rumble.
Wind Chaser ready to howl.
Dune Star’s gonna shine.
Red Lightning ready to bolt.
It was one of those nights where I didn’t feel like going out but had nothing to do. Then, genius struck like a bolt of red lightning. I decided to sit down and watch one of my favorite movies as a kid:
Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie.
I could not have made a better call. This 1997 action adventure is full of action, adventure, and even some kickin’ comedy. Not a whole lot of it makes sense, and when I tell you that it’s an hour and 40 minutes long but the original running time was 3 hours you’re gonna be like “whaaaat”. But if you can hold on tight for this review, you’re definitely gonna want to watch it.
For those less familiar with Power Rangers canon:
Turbo serves as a transition into the 5th season of Power Rangers, moving from the original Mighty Morphin’ Rangers, to the Alien Rangers, to Power Rangers Zeo, and now to Power Rangers Turbo, and as a way to introduce some new Rangers to the group. If you think that’s complicated, it’s not. I don’t even have time to bring up all the other types of Rangers that follow, like Power Rangers in Space and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy and Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue and Power Rangers Time Force and Power Rangers Wild Force and Power Rangers Ninja Storm and Power Rangers Dino Thunder and Power Rangers S.P.D. and Power Rangers Mystic Force and Power Rangers Operation Overdrive and Power Rangers Jungle Fury and Power Rangers RPM and Power Rangers Samurai and Power Rangers Megaforce.
Alright so let’s discuss what happens. Oh man am I pumped.
There’s this little goofy wizard on a distant planet. His name is Larigot, which is pronounced like Home Depot, and he’s basically 1 part troll doll, 1 part Ewok. He doesn’t talk really, but goes “oeeheorrheherhh!” a lot. He’s got to escape from an evil pirate queen named Divatox, who wears a very suggestive outfit that I clearly did not understand as a little bitty boy. To escape, Larigot heads to earth and lands in a tree and meets a bunch of chimps that love him to death but that’s not important. Here comes Divatox to planet earth!
Then there’s the Rangers! You were like, hey, where are the Power Rangers? I’m telling you, they’re right here! They’re all training for a super big important karate tournament coming up. You got Tommy (red now, was white and green and black) Rocky (who’s also a red ranger? He never morphs, so I guess they just didn’t have to explain it), Adam (green), Katherine (pink), and Tanya (yellow). Dope names right? I always wanted to be called Rocky when I was little.
Side note: The Black Ranger is no longer played by an African American actor and the Yellow Ranger is no longer played by an asian actor so the series is no longer weirdly racist. The pink ranger is still a ditzy blonde character though, so maybe they fix that in later seasons.
Oh and only the bros do the karate? The girls are on some camping trip with little kids, including a particular little boy named Justin. Justin is Rocky’s biggest fan. Rocky makes a big dumb move and hurts himself in practice and Justin is so sad! He visits him in the hospital and hides under the bed when the Rangers comes in. He hears them talking about being Rangers, and that’s sort of how that plot line gets going.
I really have to discuss how great the non-stop action is in this movie. Everything that happens is just nuts. Tommy and Katherine turn into sparkles and warp to Africa to find Larigot now that they know he’s on earth. They take these super cool backpacks that do a whole bunch of things, like you can press a big red button and the tiniest of water bottles pops right out. Also, if you press that same button later on in the movie, the backpack becomes a flotation device! The jungle is scary too, so they morph into Powe—NOPE! Tommy just straight wrestles a snake. When Kimberly jumps off a cliff and hurts her leg really bad, instead of turning back into pixie dust and instantly traveling wherever they want, Tommy and Katherine hobble through the jungle super slow.
I need to stay close to the plotline to make sure I touch on all the awesome things in this movie so right about now… Oh that’s right. Tommy finds Larigot, says “thank you” out loud to a group of babbling monkeys and then warps back to Ranger base.
Divatox has a frog tongue. I forgot to mention that. But I mean whatever, she’s pretty hot.
I’m a about to really throw you for a loop—guess what? Jason and Kimberly return! Yes, the original Red and Pink Rangers that everyone knows and loves! They are mysteriously kidnapped and taken to Divatox’s spaceship-turned-submarine, but don’t worry they’ll be okay.
When Larigot just does something inexplicable and turns himself over to Divatox, the Rangers really get what’s going on and start taking things seriously. Time to get in the TURBO ZORDS.
What’s a Turbo Zord? It’s an incredibly cool car customized for each Ranger that drives really fast across a random desert and that’s it! That’s all that happens with the cars! They’re so cool. I guess they serve the purpose of driving the Rangers to an old pirate ship that they steer directly through the Bermuda Triangle. I’m not even going to explain this part I’m just going to let you wonder how that could possibly be included in this movie.
Remember little Justin who figured out who the Rangers were? He gets turned into the Blue Ranger and catches up with the rest of the gang. When he morphs, he grows 2 feet, because they need to use a normal sized human actor for the Ranger combat scenes. Don’t question it.
So they really get down to business and catch up to Divatox on this big island, where she is attempting to bring this fiery demon out of a volcano to marry. (I really didn’t realize how crazy most of this would sound but I need another thousand words to fully help you understand). I can’t reveal anymore of the plot because I know you’re going to watch this and you don’t want spoilers, so here are a few other notes I thought were important:
– There’s a really beautiful blend of science and magic happening in this movie. It really makes you think.
– Fantastic cameo by Rita Repulsa. So glad she could make it into the movie!
– Jason gets turned evil and apparently voices some insecurities towards Tommy, and makes everyone uncomfortable when he shouts “NOW I’M THE ONE WITH THE MUSCLES AND THE POWER!” Tommy acts like a true friend and responds with, “That’s right Jase! But you’re not using your brain power!”
– If you shout nonsense words that are kind of synonymous with “speed”, you are probably quoting direct lines from this film.
How badly do you want to see this movie now? You probably stopped reading this half way through just go get it. I hope you do. I hope you enjoy it.
Do the Rangers stop a giant volcano monster? Does Divatox find true love? What happens to Jason and Kimberly? Who will win the karate tournament, and why do Divatox’s minions ride around on jet-skis?
Man I love this movie.
Visuals: 10/10. Off the wall. This is Power Rangers. This series is almost entirely visual. Perfect score.
Cast: 5/10. Strong performances by the original Rangers, but man Larigot is the dumbest thing ever to be considered essential to a plot. He is Turbo’s Jar Jar Binks, and he can’t even talk.
Script: 2/10. What I would give to read the original 3 hour screenplay.
Dopeness: 9/10. You know you wanted to be a Ranger as a kid, and you know you still do now!
Worth it? DUH. Have I ever lied to you?