'Power Rangers' morph into gritty adults in hit fan film
A scene from the short film 'Power/Rangers.' (YouTube / Adi Shankar)
Published Wednesday, February 25, 2015 11:07AM EST
Go go Power Rangers.
A fan-made 'Power Rangers' short film has gone viral thanks to a touch of Hollywood star power and a heavy dose of dark, adult content.
Since it was posted online Monday, the 14-minute video has racked up more than 5.75 million YouTube views with its gritty take on adult versions of the teen 'Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers' characters featured in the martial arts/superhero TV show that started in the 1990s.
The fan film features high-quality special effects and some familiar faces in Katee Sackhoff of 'Battlestar Galactica' fame and former 'Dawson's Creek' actor James Van Der Beek.
The original 'Power Rangers' series pitted the teenaged Red, Blue, Black, Yellow, Pink and Green Rangers against various threats from space. The Power Rangers used specialized weapons and summoned several large fighting robots that would combine to become a single, larger robot.
This new 'Power/Rangers' fan film picks up years later, in a dystopian future where the Power Rangers have split up and an evil empire has taken over the planet.
Sackhoff is front and centre as the Pink Ranger, Kimberly, whose wedding to the Red Ranger is interrupted by a gang attack. The Red Ranger is killed and the Pink Ranger is captured for interrogation.
The interrogation process becomes a frame to showcase what's happened to the other Rangers in this dark future.
The Black Ranger has become a fitness video star who snorts cocaine and sleeps with lingerie models (cameos from adult stars Amia Miley and former Charlie Sheen girlfriend Bree Olson). The Blue Ranger is a billionaire inventor, the Yellow Ranger is dead and the Green Ranger is a drifter on the run.
The film's special effects are as good as anything moviegoers would expect of a summer blockbuster. The opening scene in particular is striking, as a team of Power Rangers run across an alien landscape while they are bombarded by lasers from space.
'Power/Rangers' is directed by Joseph Khan and backed by producer Adi Shankar. Khan's directing credits include several music videos for big-name stars like Britney Spears ('Toxic), Eminem ('Love the Way You Lie') and the Backstreet Boys ('Backstreet's Back').
Shankar's resume includes several gritty films like 'The Grey,' 'A Walk Among the Tombstones' and 'Dredd.' He's also produced unofficial fan films based on the Punisher and Judge Dredd comic book characters.
Shankar released a commentary video with the film explaining his love for the 1990s series, and his decision to make a short film with adult versions of those characters.
"These are high school students," he says in the video. "They're made to fight this intergalactic war that they really have nothing to do with. How is that any different from child soldiers?"
Shankar says he wanted to examine what those "child soldier" Power Rangers would become after years of violence and trauma.
He insists the film is not a "pitch" to land the rights to a feature-length, fully-licensed 'Power Rangers' movie.
An official 'Power Rangers' feature film is rumoured to be in the works, though Shankar is not attached. The franchise has also seen several iterations on television and in direct-to-video movies since its 1993 debut.
Saban Entertainment, the company that owns 'Power Rangers,' has reportedly sent Kahn a cease-and-desist notice.
Saban is trying to shut POWER/RANGERS down. If you'd like to keep watching, tell them to stop harassing me http://t.co/Gb3KfwMbAX— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) February 24, 2015