The new releases this week bring us two remakes of popular TV shows, and one film that just seems like a remake.
1. Power Rangers (Lionsgate, 3,963 Theaters, 124 Minutes, Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence, action and destruction, language, and for some crude humor, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 44% Fresh [68 reviews]): The original Power Rangers were a little bit after my time, but from what I saw of it, I couldn’t fathom how it became so popular. It was a teen show that used a recycled footage from a Japanese Voltron-by-way-of-Godzilla clone and it looked cheap.
Now, don’t write me angrily to tell me the subtle differences between those properties I mentioned and the Power Rangers. I admit that I did not take the time to learn anything about the show, and you are probably right in saying that it rocked and that I am wrong. I just don’t get how this is so popular. But it was hugely popular, hence this remake.
Five high school students “with attitude” discover a spaceship that bestows them with great powers. These come in handy as they are called upon to defend the earth against Rita Repulsa (Elizabeth Banks) and her plans for domination.
2. Life (Sony/Columbia, 3,146 Theaters, 103 Minutes, Rated R for language throughout, some sci-fi violence and terror, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 64% Fresh [78 reviews]): If you’re like me, you’re probably not all that excited when NASA announces that they found planets that can support life. And that’s because of movies like these tell us that whatever is on those other planets will probably want to kill us very, very painfully.
Ryan Reynolds reunites with Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick for this film, where he plays an astronaut who is part of a team that find life on Mars. Too bad that lifeform is what killed everything on the Red Planet and, thanks to him and his cronies, Earth is next on its hit list.
It seems almost by default this film is the best bet this week. But will it add anything new to the genre?
3. CHIPS (Warner Brothers, 2,464 Theaters, 100 Minutes, Rated R for crude sexual content, graphic nudity, pervasive language, some violence and drug use, Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer at press time: 34% Fresh [32 reviews]): The TV show this film is based on wasn’t after my time, but it’s not like I had that many positive memories about it. It was a lightweight TV show that face a different problem every week, mostly involving some sort of accident on a highway. It was the fluffiest show in an era of fluffy shows, but enjoyable in its own way. But the bar is definitely low for any reboot.
The film gives the characters a little more backstory (“He’s an ex-pro motorbiker! He’s an undercover Fed! Together, they ride bikes in tight pants!), ramped up the raunchy level to 11 and gave them a mission–to expose corrupt cops in the unit.
There might not be a good way to bring this show to the big screen, but if there is, this is probably not it.
Next week’s new releases will include skinsuit-wearing Scarlett Johansson whitewashing an anime classic and Alec Baldwin playing an immature and demanding character that inexplicably been put in a position of power. No, a different one.