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Power Rangers Movie Escapism, And Little Else

Fri., March 28, 1997

As gratuitous nonsense goes, “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie” isn’t half bad. Fans of cheesy gee-whiz superheroic adventure will love the thing, and any viewers who get dragged in against their will should keep an open mind.

The film is a deliberate throwback to low-tech adventure fare of the 1950s, so don’t expect slick visual effects on a par with, say, the recent “Star Trek” excursions.

The menace at large is a space pirate named Divatox (Hilary Shepard Turner), who stages a kidnapping in order to obtain the key that will free some legendary monster. Not that this Divatox character doesn’t have enough monsters at her disposal already.

The menace, of course, is a red flag for the Power Rangers, a heartland-America superhero team whose TV and big-screen exploits date from 1993. The programs are little more than extended commercials for a line of toys, but the kids playing the Rangers have consistently put lots of heart and energy into the job. Never mind that the actors are pretty much interchangeable.

Team-directed by David Winning and Rangers co-creator Shuki Levy, “Turbo” reinforces the derivative nature of the series. Trace it to such 1950s TV perennials as “Ramar of the Jungle” and “Superman,” and to the comic-book adventures of Captain Marvel, an ordinary kid given fantastic powers. The writing and acting work on a comic-book level, with simplistic declarations of loyalty and vengeance, and the overemphatic portrayals might be better suited to some Victorian melodrama.

All these qualities seem deliberate, however. The best thing to do with a “Power Rangers” movie is just to check your brain at the door and let the good times roll.

xxxx “Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie” Locations: Lincoln Heights, Lyons, Post Falls Cinema Six and Showboat Running time: 1:39 Rated: PG

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