Okay, so the new Power Rangers Samurai TV movie “Clash of the Red Rangers” debuted just a couple of hours ago (when I started writing this post), and so far, I’m not sure what to make of it.
On first watch, they seem to be pulling from three different sources to make this special. First, and most obvious, was Shinkenger vs. Go-Onger, only with just RPM Ranger Red making an appearance, and then mixed in with that was the Shinkenger movie, mostly using a re-shot version of the major battle scene and the battle against the now-named General Gut, and what should have been the reveal of the Shark zord/Shark Attack Ranger (Kyoryu Origami/Hyper Shinkenger) but was instead revealed in the Double Red Ranger fight scene, and a random episode which was originally where Kotoha/ShinkenYellow first used the Super Shinkenger power (it was the scene where the Samurai Rangers first come in).
Basic plot summary: The RPM Rangers are still fighting the robot hordes (a.k.a. Venjix) that nearly destroyed humanity, when one bad guy named Professor Cog escapes from his dimension into the Samurai Ranger’s dimension, with RPM Ranger Red on his tail. After seeing the new Samurai Rangers in action, he makes a deal with Master Xandred to eliminate the Rangers in exchange for Sanzu River water, which he plans on using to poison the water supply in the RPM dimension. When he sends out his Grinders to take out the Samurai Rangers, that’s when RPM Ranger Red shows up. He tells the Samurai Rangers that his name is Scott, and that he came from his dimension to stop Professor Cog while he’s in the Samurai Ranger’s dimension. After a fight with the Professor and his Grinder minions, the team is transported by Cog to the RPM dimension, leaving the two Reds who’ve been poisoned by Cog’s hypno-bolts. Both sides regroup, where we see Xandred and General Gut talking about a Mooger army build-up they’ve been planning since before Professor Cog showed up. The next day, with Jayden and Scott growing more and more hostile towards each other, they set off to fight a combined Mooger/Grinder horde, only to start fighting each other. Their fight ends with a fake-out, using the same trick Professor Cog had pulled in Scott in his dimension, and together they wipe out the Moogers and the Grinders using the Samurai’s yet-to-be-revealed Shark Attack and Super Modes. That’s when the others finally return and help them take out Professor Cog and a Nighlock ordered to assist him. After that, they charge into a battle with General Gut and a swarm of Moogers, with RPM Ranger Red and Samurai Gold Ranger fighting from a Red Convertible (it was a Mustang, but they can’t use brand names on Power Rangers for legal reasons). They take out General Gut with Jayden going into Shark Attack Mode, and then finish him off using the new Shark Zord. After which, the Samurai Rangers see Scott off to his dimension, while hinting at a possible upcoming romance between Mike and Emily. 😉
My review: Let me start out by saying that I had started on this post yesterday, shortly after it had premiered, and my impression of it has since changed. If I had published the review I was working on yesterday, then all you would have read was a scathing, nit-picky, dare I say fanboy-esque review, in which I just constantly pointed out every little flaw and complained about every little incongruency with the story, and you all would have probably called me out for it. But since then, I’ve had a chance to see the special again, and rethink my position on certain things, and if I’m honest, it wasn’t half bad considering all the things they had working against them.
For example, we all would have like to seen Eka Darville in person, at least for a one scene, but he couldn’t be there, so we’ll just have to make due with his voice over. One thing I really don’t get though, if they did that just for him, then why not just replace everyone else that couldn’t show with suit actors and give them some kind of voice double, like the very obvious one they had for Steven Skyler/Antonio. They’ve had Ari Boyland on there voicing a Nighlock, I’m sure he could have come in to voice his parts. And I know they needed to fill time by replacing the missing scenes in the movie (Megazord battle with Professor Cog on the Moon, the Goseiger fight scene, etc.), but why use the Shinkenger movie scenes? That just threw off the whole plot line of the movie. Sure, you needed a way to formally introduce the Shark Zord, but why didn’t they just do it in another special? And I’m just ranting again.
Overall, I’d say this was a good special, given the special conditions. Would I say it was the best Samurai has had to offer so far? No. But I do think that the best is waiting just around the corner. After all, there are a lot of big things waiting for us in season two.
Still wish they could have done more with this one. Maybe next time, with whichever two series they decide to make a crossover for, they’ll be able to get a hold of the actors from the previous season before they go off and get new acting jobs.
-M.C., the Quantum Twin