Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: Once & Always

I was never a big fan of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers when it was on FOX back in the 90s, but I did watch the show. I knew enough to know characters and some monsters. My favorite Ranger was Tommy, both as the Green Ranger and then later as the White Ranger. Sure, it was repetitive and fairly stupid, but it still had its charm and there can be no denying the cultural significance of the show.

That was why I was unexpectedly excited about the new one shot special on Netflix with the reunion of the original team of Rangers.

Of course, I knew that two of the original cast were no longer with us as Thuy Trang, who played the Yellow Ranger, died in a car crash when she was 27, and Jason David Frank, who played Tommy the Green Ranger took his own life last year.

However, it became clear that this was not going to be a reunion of the surviving Power Rangers as Amy Jo Johnson, who was the Pink Ranger, and Austin St. John, who was Jason the Red Ranger, were nowhere to be seen in this new show. All we get from these characters are in costume heroes with helmets on. I think they used their voices in some of the action scenes.

There was a return for Black Ranger Zack (Walter Emanuel Jones) and Blue Ranger Billy (David Yost). They also tossed in a couple of other Rangers from one of the countless rebooted series over the years to fill in with the missing colors- Rocky for Red (Steve Cardenas) and Kat as Pink (Catherine Sutherland).

This show added Minh (Charlie Kersh), the daughter of Thuy Trang’s character and the legacy replacement for the Yellow Ranger. Barbara Goodson voiced Robo Rita, a replacement for the arch villain Rita Repulsa, who was originally played by the late Machiko Soga.

I have to say… with the missing cast members, this did not strike the nostalgia button enough to overlook how horrendous this thing was. It was such a disappointment. I am not sure why I thought it was so disappointing as I was never a huge fan, but I found this nearly unbearable to watch and I could sit through episodes of the original series.

The acting was not very good. To be fair, I thought Walter Jones’s Zack was not too bad. He was the acting standout of this, but that is not saying much. The rest of the cast was robotic, and I don’t just mean Rita.

The action was weak, the dialogue was lacking and the story had holes throughout it. Yes, I know that the original show was never an Emmy winning quality, but, again, I could watch it if I was waiting to get to Spider-Man Animated series or The Tick.

I did like how they addressed the Yellow Ranger’s absence, making it a huge part of the plot, but it was never sufficiently dealt with in any emotional sense.

Easily the best part of the entire show was the archival footage they had of the original Rangers sitting around with Amy Jo Johnson playing the guitar as Walter Jones joined her singing. This one moment brought more nostalgia and feelings than anything else that this show had. They really needed more of this type of scenes.

Any feeling of anticipation I had for this special was gone ten minutes into it. What was here just could not measure up to what was missing.

1.4 stars

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