‘Power Rangers: Once and Always’ Review
Anyone who has not seen Power Rangers: Once and Always is hereby advised this post may contain spoilers.
I was exactly the right age when Saban’s Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers first half-danced, half-karate kicked its way onto our screens back in the 90s, and like many of my fellow kids, I was thoroughly obsessed.
Of course, that was thirty years ago now and it’s been decades since I last gave it a second thought—that is, until I heard there was going to be an hour long 30th anniversary special with the original(ish) cast all reprising their roles as the original Power Rangers. Then my inner child arose like the Dino Megazord ready to smash up a few buildings on its way to victory.
I knew it was a low budget, straight to Netflix kids movie but one last morphin’ time* was just too tantalising to ignore.
So, I watched it.
First impressions: a lot of love went into making this movie, but clearly not a whole lot of money. If you want to see all the classic outfits, giant monsters, Putties, Zords and have some general nostalgia then this movie has it in spades. If you’re looking for quality writing, award winning acting and realistic special effects then you might want to watch something else.
It did, of course, make me very happy to see those old faces again and it was obviously written as a homage to Thuy Trang, the actress who played the original Yellow Ranger (with an extra homage to the original Green Ranger, Jason David Frank, added on at the last minute as lovingly as possible given the time constraints). It’s got all the feels you could ever hope for.
At an hour long, you would’ve expected a much more involved story to develop; perhaps something that would appeal to the 30-somethings like me who were more likely to be interested in it. Alas, the original show used to make much better use of a twenty-minute episode than this did of an hour (perhaps because it knew its target audience were all kids, whereas Once and Always seemed to be trying to appeal to the original fanbase without sacrificing any of its child-friendly cheesiness).
The story had the potential to be something quite involved: Minh (Trini’s daughter) coming to terms with the loss of her mother and overcoming her need for revenge; Billy struggling with self-doubt for his unwitting role in Rita’s return and Trini’s death; Kat sick with worry that she might about to lose Tommy).
Unfortunately, that’s not quite what we got. The pacing was far too rushed, with one fight scene almost immediately segueing into another, with just enough of a pause for a quick joke from Rocky, a pep talk from Zack, or a tantrum from Minh in between.
‘What do you think it means to be a Ranger?’ Zack asks Minh in one scene. ‘Kicking butt, cute quips, having fun?’
Alas, that’s pretty much all this movie was. Lots of butt kicking, lots of cute quips, lots of fun but not nearly as much substance as it could have had.
My rating: ⚡⚡⚡
*Little did I realise there would actually be quite a lot of morphin’ times in this movie. By the time we got to the final one, complete with the brand-new Yellow Ranger, it was starting to lose its power.