30 January 2005 | BrianDanaCamp
Good mix of drama and action in above-average Power Rangers entry
This tape is a compilation of four episodes from "Power Rangers Time Force" that tell a continuing story and fit comfortably into the 77-minute edited-movie format used here. As Power Rangers seasons went, "Time Force" (2001), the seventh such series in the U.S., was more dramatic than most, focusing on a serious storyline involving Power Rangers from the future tracking down a vicious mutant, Ransik, who's come to the present day to wreak havoc.
A lot happens in this compilation. A monster from the future, Venomark, spreads his poisonous bite among the populace, leaving hundreds of citizens, including four of the Power Rangers, susceptible to the kind of mutation that afflicted Ransik. When the unbitten Wes (Red Ranger) finds a sample of Ransik's serum antidote, he gets the chemists at Bio-Lab to duplicate it. In the course of it all, Wes gets into all kinds of confrontations with his father, Mr. Collins, the head of Bio-Lab, and Eric (Quantum Ranger), Collins' head of security. Ransik's robot aide, Frax, mutinies and builds a powerful giant robot, Dragontron, to terrorize the city. Meanwhile, the group's original Red Ranger, Alex, a dead ringer for Wes, shows up from the future where he'd been believed dead. Once the boyfriend of Jen (Pink Ranger), Alex takes over the group, leaving Wes to run Bio-Lab after his father's been seriously injured by Ransik in a desperate grab to get the new serum. Soon, however, it becomes clear that Alex lacks the skills that made Wes such a respected and admired Red Ranger.
That only scratches the surface. For fans of MegaZord action, there are quite a few large-scale destructive robot-zord battles, all of them taken from this series' Japanese 'sentai' counterpart, "Timeranger" (2000). This was the last PR season in which the Zords were created entirely in time-honored man-in-robot-suit fashion and let loose on miniature sets, so it was the last chance for old-school fans like this reviewer to revel in such effects before CGI became the norm in the next series, "Power Rangers Wild Force."
For fans who want a bit more than standard Power Rangers fighting action, there are also quite a number of well-acted dramatic scenes, as Wes is torn between loyalty to his friends and obligations to his father. The actor who plays him (and Alex), Jason Faunt, has a number of good scenes as does Pink Ranger Jen (Erin Cahill) who is herself torn between the two guys. Most importantly, there is a scene between the only two name actors to appear in the entire Power Rangers franchise, Edward Albert, as Mr. Collins, and Vernon Wells as Ransik. Albert is the son of Hollywood veteran Eddie Albert ("Green Acres") and was once an acclaimed up-and-coming young star (BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE, 40 CARATS) in his own right. Wells had come from Australia to Hollywood after appearing as a villain opposite Mel Gibson in ROAD WARRIOR and had a spectacular fight with Arnold Schwarzenegger in COMMANDO. Together Albert and Wells gave this Power Rangers season a touch of professional class that the other seasons lacked. As PR seasons go, "Time Force" and its immediate predecessor, "Lightspeed Rescue," were the most no-nonsense, action-packed, story-conscious seasons.