• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie

TITLE: Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie

YEAR: 1997

GENRE: Family and Science Fiction

The idea of releasing a film to the theaters to help promote a television show is nothing new. Back in 1977 the film The Incredible Hulk was released to theaters outside of theUnited Statesto pump up the interest of the CBS television show of the same name, and George Lucas released Star Wars: The Clone Wars to create buzz among a future new generation of Star Wars fans for the upcoming Cartoon Network television show. The Power Rangers franchise was in a dilemma back in 1996: the show was about to receive a reboot including a couple new heroes, a new villain, new weapons, and a new name from “Power Rangers: Zeo” to “Power Rangers: Turbo”. Show executive Shuki Levi came up with a bright idea: create aHollywoodfilm that was more in line with the series to serve as a bridge between the two shows that would also pay for the revamping of the props for the television series. The final result was Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie, a terribly produced sci-fi family adventure that lacked the charm or cheese factor of the previous offering.

Evil alien pirate named Divatox (played by Hilary Shepard) has plans to conquer the universe by kidnapping the wizard Lerigot (Joe Simanton) to help her resurrect a monster named Meligore (Michael Deak) from his volcano prison. Lerigot escapes to Earth where he is detected by galactic defender Zordon (Winston Richard, voiced by Robert L. Manahan) and his trusted assistant robot Alpha-5 (Donene Kistler, voiced by Richard Steven Horvitz). Zordon calls the space police force the Power Rangers—Tommy the red ranger (played by Jason David Frank), Adam the green ranger (Johnny Yong Bosch), Katherine the pink ranger (Catherine Sutherland), and Tanya the yellow ranger (Nakia Burrise)—into action to save the wizard and protect him from the sun’s rays which will kill him if overexposed. Although saved for awhile, Divatox captures Lerigot and two of the former Power Rangers, Kimberly (Amy Jo Johnson) and Jason (Austin St. John), to offer as a sacrifice to Meligore and take off to an uncharted island where the monster is held prisoner. The Power Rangers are ready to save the day, but Rocky the blue ranger (Steve Cardenas) was recently injured in a karate tournament and must be replaced by a much younger Justin (Blake Foster). Together the five some must do their best to save the planet, protect their former comrades, save the wizard, and stop Meligore once and for all.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie had about half the budget of the original Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie, and unfortunately the limited budget shines through in a negative way. Zordon’s look had digressed to the point where he would not be out of place in a Z-grade 1950’s production, and the Lerigot costume is cute enough but resembles a reject of something off the “Land Of The Lost” set. The fight scenes are lacking any intensity and are as bad as the worst 1970’s Hong Kong kung fu production, and a scene where Tommy wrestles with an all too obvious rubber python is too reminiscent of Bella Lugosi versus the octopus in Bride On The Monster. Divatox is probably too sexy looking for a children’s show, as her armored top is quite low cropped and the skirt is pretty high, and some of the camera angles are a bit sexy for the 8-12 market (lots of cleavage). There are some chimpanzees that help Tommy and Katherine while searching for Lerigot in a jungle scene and the goodbye scene with the chimps is downright juvenile and idiotic in nature. This film could have been a cult delight, but the problem is that the jokes fall flat and fight scenes are played a little too seriously to give the film a camp value. Not even the appearance of Edwin Neal (the hitch hiker in the legendary The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) as a snoring Lord Zedd does little to save this film from its own inadequacies. In addition, this was the beginning of a constant juggling of young teenage actors into hero roles every couple years (this film has the third actress playing the yellow ranger), which proved that anybody could be a Power Ranger as long as they were willing to work for Screen Actors Guild minimum wage.

Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie was the beginning of one career and the end of another: this was the first film for Simanton who has spent his career being a little person slathered in prosthetics and make-up in such Z-grade trash as The Creeps, Kraa! The Sea Monster, and Epic Movie; and this was the last work for prolific car designer George Barris who created some of the most iconic vehicles in television history including the Batmobile in the 1960’s “Batman”, K.I.T.T. in “Knight Rider”, the General Lee in “The Dukes Of Hazzard”, and Herman’s hot rod in “The Munsters”. Although dripping with camp potential like its predecessor, Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie does not deliver and simply comes across as forced and dimly lit instead of a cult classic. This film served as a launching pad for a franchise that has been running strong in one form or another ever since, but on its own Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie is a waste of time for pretty much everybody with the exception of Power Rangers purists.

* 1/2

–Mark

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