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James Van Der Beek, Katee Sackhoff star in 'Power/Rangers' fan film

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Joseph Kahn

Go go gritty Power Rangers?

While a big screen reboot is in the works, director Joseph Kahn, whose most recent work includes Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” music video, debuted his fan film take on the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, and he has some surprising star power on hand to help. James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff star in this 14-minute short film that takes the goofy, colorful fun of the original Power Rangers series and plays it as straight and serious as possible. 

Words like “gritty” have been thrown around to describe every big action property since Jason Bourne and Batman began ruling the box office in the last decade. But Kahn’s film isn’t afraid to include every “gritty” action trope imaginable. Updating a classic, beloved children’s property to be deadly serious? Check. Graying out a colorful palette so only the vaguest hints of bright pinks and greens remain? Check. Dubstep? Unfortunately, check.

Watch the video, which is part of Adi Shankar’s “Bootleg Universe” series of one-shot films, below.

The thing is, though, Power/Rangers works. Kahn’s short is an incredibly cool and well-crafted take on what it would be like to see Rangers like Tommy and Kimberly as adults in a brutal and unforgiving world. The short had no help from Lionsgate (the company currently working on the reboot) or Saban Entertainment (the original production house behind the show), but Kahn doesn’t appear to have cut any corners while producing the film.

For more on the film, Hitfix has an interview with Kahn about the direction he took the short and what he hoped to accomplish with the film.

While the actual Power Rangers reboot film will likely have a much bigger budget and more time to build out its story, Kahn’s Power/Rangers could challenge Lionsgate to step up its production.

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