It will be a while yet before we see what Lionsgate and Saban Entertainment have in mind for their 2016 reboot of “Power Rangers,” but it’s a safe bet it won’t resemble this new fan film by “Torque” and “Detention” director Joseph Kahn.
Produced by Adi Shankar (“The Grey,” “Dredd”), who was behind the Punisher and Venom fan films “Dirty Laundry” and “Truth in Journalism,” “Power/Rangers” is an incredibly dark and violent sequel of sorts to the long-running children’s franchise set in the aftermath of the war with the Machine Empire. (Be warned: The film contains blood and nudity.)
“The thought that weaponizing youth and training them to kill could’ve turned out so ugly for so many of them,” James Van Der Beek’s traitorous Rocky tells his prisoner, Katee Sackhoff’s Kimberly, in the 14-minute short, which finds most of the Power Rangers murdered.
Yes, it turns out “Power/Rangers” is the “super secret job” Sackhoff teased in August, sparking another round of speculation that she’ll play Carol Danvers in an upcoming Marvel Studios film. Kahn’s project also stars Russ Bain as Tommy/Green Ranger, Will Yun Lee (“The Wolverine,” “Bionic Woman”) as General Black and Gichi Gamba (“Torque”) as Zack/Black Ranger.
“There were a couple of things [about ‘Power Rangers’] that were appealing to me,” Kahn explains to HitFix. “One, as opposed to like taking something like Barney and doing your dark version of Barney, there’s at least a mythology there. The original mythology is really expansive and kind of silly in how many different […] I mean, these guys turn into dinosaurs. How do you take that seriously? But there’s enough of like a groundwork of the original source material that they based off this repurposed Japanese show that has like norms of anime and kung fu and all that stuff that appeals to me because I’m an anime and kung fu guy anyways. I just took pieces that I liked and then streamlined it and made a bare-bones version and really expressed the versions that seemed like they naturally fit within the down-the-middle dark and gritty reboot.”