The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers are having a partial reunion on Netflix. Frankly, I’m surprised it’s taken this long for the original ’90s TV show to be plumbed for nostalgia. Millennial heartstrings are easily plucked, especially by something that was as ubiquitous.
Though I’ll be watching, because I was one of Zordon’s young and faithful during the early ’90s, my heart belongs to another franchise of rambunctious heroes who get their powers from friendship and colour-coded armour. The Fast and Furious movies achieve what the Rangers did 30 years ago, trading morphsuits for muscle cars and megazords for found families.
Since Fast Five, the action movies have gradually gotten bigger and sillier, but their core has remained the same – friends saving the world together. Are their methods questionable? Yes, but the results are undeniable, always thwarting the movie villain through teamwork and co-operative ingenuity.
Power Rangers does the same, just on better terms with the law. They’re both based on wholesome values of protecting what’s good standing alongside allies you’d walk through hell for. Aesthetically, they seem miles apart, Fast and Furious retaining that glossy, 2000s movie look against the soap opera feel of the Rangers, but they’re more alike than you might think.
If you trade those morphsuits for brightly painted vehicles and Zordon for Kurt Russell in a suit, they’re remarkably similar. I’m serious! Whenever the Fast and Furious characters are driving in a group, like their arrival to Abu Dhabi in Furious 7 or when they head to Central America in F9, it’s pleasing in the same way as Tommy leading his team.
I’m not even entirely sure why this is – perhaps it’s just the satisfaction of tight-knit heroes you enjoy moving in lockstep, each one looking distinct from the other. Letty on the motorbike while Tej is in a jeep and Dom forces a suped-up three-door to become all-terrain tickles the part of my brain that loves seeing all the primary coloured Rangers together.
Occasionally, there’s a lovely shot of the cars all arriving, one after the other. Conveniently this lets us see the contours that make each brand and build distinct, but I like to think someone in production is low-key appealing to the older Power Rangers diehards in the audience.
Mr Nobody has become a Zordon stand-in, someone powerful and all-seeing the team answers to and for whom they risk life and limb. But I prefer when there’s no talking head and they’re more driven on principle: that person wronged one of us and they have to pay; Vin Diesel’s betrayed us; or stealing loads of DVD players through drag racing.
Behind all the high-octane racing are wholesome themes about dedication, accepting that life is rarely simple or easy, and taking some risks every once in a while. I’m sceptical that anyone foresaw what the franchise would become after watching The Fast and the Furious, yet those values are still present in the nu-metal thriller movie.
Granted, it’s mostly a Point Break riff about an FBI agent learning that putting nitro in your car feels amazing, but, y’know, living life a quarter mile at a time isn’t the worst philosophy. Stay in the present, keep your eyes on the road, and do not under any circumstances gamble against Vin Diesel.
There’s a certain humanity to the Fast films. Really, Dom Toretto’s crew are a bunch of nerds across various disciplines who drive cool cars. The spectacle of Dom and Brian robbing a literal bank vault in Fast Five, and later outrunning a submarine on ice in The Fate of the Furious is comparable to the Megazord flailing at one of Lord Zed’s kaiju (at the very least it’s more fast-paced).
Their faces aren’t obscured, and they aren’t protected by any omniscient forces. That’s the part where Fast and Furious even trumps Power Rangers. To join the Rangers, you have to be chosen by Zordon, whereas Dom’s crew welcomes anybody that can keep up.
It’s about being the best you, and all that. As I get older, that appeals to me more than masked heroes blessed by happenstance. Life can be what you make it. Apply discipline and determination, and go with the flow.
There have been attempts to bring Power Rangers back into the wider public sphere. The 2017 family movie reboot was decent but lacked visual flair. An edgy short film from Joseph Kahn went viral in 2015, giving the coloured crusaders a gritty revamp to represent our desire for everything adult to be miserable.
Neither worked for me. I’m not really the target audience for any sort of revival anyway, aforementioned nostalgia-fest notwithstanding, and when I want to see friends take on the world and win, I’ve already got the perfect alternative.
Check out our guide to the Fast and Furious 10 release date to find out more about the new movie. The best Netflix movies and best Netflix series will give you more to check out on the service, and don’t forget our list of the best movies.