Adi Shankar made a Power Rangers short. It’s great, and you should watch it. Let me tell you why.
You don’t have to be Oscar-nominated to have a short film worth watching. All you have to is find something in the centre of the ven diagram of “films that studios will never make” and “films that fans desperately want to be made”. One film-maker who’s gotten very good at hitting that particular sweet spot is Adi Shankar. He’s gotten into a very good habit of making bootleg reboots of famous characters and universes in ten to twenty minute bursts. This is the perfect amount of time, because it satisfies the fan’s desire for a violent, gritty take on their favourite characters, but doesn’t go on long enough to disappoint them. He’s done this with Judge Dredd, the Punisher, Venom, and now – out of freaking nowhere – the Power Rangers. Here’s the short as reported on by Screenrant:
The short stars James Van Der Beek as Red Power Ranger Rocky DeSantos, Katee Sackhoff as Pink Power Ranger Kimberley Hart Russ Bain as Green Power Ranger Tommy Oliver. For a short, the story is very involved and rich, but doesn’t fall into the trap of taking itself too seriously…you’re allowed to think it’s silly without the whole thing crumbling down around you and that’s what’s great about it.
Shankar is more commonly recognisable as a connoisseur of high-violence, directing features such as Machine Gun Preacher, The Grey, and Dredd: all films that weren’t so popular with critics but were undeniably unique in their aspiration for an R-rating. Shankar’s most valuable commodity is his understanding that violence and mania need not be taken seriously all the time to be done well. This can most effectively be shown by his work in 2014, between Liam Neeson drama A Walk Among the Tombstones and Ryan Reynolds black comedy The Voices.
A feature length reboot of Power Rangers is in fact in the works with a screenplay penned by Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz, so it will be interesting to see where on the barometer of seriousness it decides to fall. But after seeing this short, they’ve definitely got their work cut out for them.