By 1997 the “Power Rangers” had reached the nadir of their popularity and with the appeal of the franchise dying down as fans grew older, “Turbo” was a last gasp cash grab. It didn’t just bring the old and new Rangers (for the most part, anyway) to the big screen, but it also rebooted the Power Rangers in to a auto-centric kind of Power Rangers team that would do nothing but go downhill from here.
Other-worldly villainess Divatox, the wife of an evil lord named Maligore, plans to free him from his prison in an energy vacuum inside one of Earth’s volcanos. Divatox needs to bring a good wizard named Lerigot (Jon Simanton) to the volcano, because he has the key to unlocking the energy prison. Lerigot flees his planet and escapes to Earth just before Divatox’s henchmen capture him. The five Power Rangers from Earth are given new powers from Lerigot which gives them the strength to fight Divatox and save their friends from lava.
Apparently made on half the budget of the original 1995 movie (which is saying a lot), “Turbo” really doesn’t take the franchise to any new areas. Granted, the whole team looks different, but “Turbo” doesn’t provide any new or interesting characters of villains. Divatox feels like a big step down from previous baddies, and the addition of a boy to the team feels like desperate grasps for a new, younger audience. “Turbo” watches a lot like it was formatted to be a three part TV introduction for the new series that was fitted for the big screen, and it shows far too often. I’m not sure if I’d call this one of the worst movies of all time, (as it has been categorized as being for years) but in the realm of “Power Rangers” entertainment, this is a movie that should be reserved mainly for completists and hardcore fans alike.
The brief and abrupt return of Amy Jo Johnson and Austin St. John as Kimberly and Jason should be a nice treat, but they barely have enough of a presence to boast about, sadly. I was never sure what the reasoning was behind their returns, but they don’t get much to do, and they have zero involvement in the “Turbo Rangers” television run. I wouldn’t call myself a hardcore fan, but I am enough of an admirer of “Power Rangers” to keep this in my collection and give it a look every now and then. It certainly has its place in nineties nostalgia, even if there is so much better Power Rangers fodder you can invest time in to.
On Blu-Ray for the first time, Shout Factory’s new release includes Ranger Tales-Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, a twenty three minute discussion with “Turbo” stars Nakia Burrise, Catherine Sutherland and Justin Stewart, all of whom reflect on making the movie, give stories from the set, getting their roles, and working with other actors. Turbo-A Power Rangers Movie Original Featurette is a four minute vintage EPK with cast and crew interviews, and finally there’s the original theatrical trailer, and an original TV Spot.