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DVD Review: Power Rangers: Jungle Fury - Into the Jungle & Way of the Master

Who knew that the Power Rangers were still around? Did you know? 'Cause I had no idea! But this Power Rangers series I just discovered, called Power Rangers Jungle Fury, is a bit different from the original series that I used to love watching. Oh, it's still just as cheesy and silly, if not more so, but this series reduced the number of initial rangers from five to only three (guess they were needing to save money or something), and these rangers all come from the same monastery, or whatever. They're part of a clan called Order of the Claw. And that leads us into the story....

So we're at the monastery (or whatever you call it) where three teens, Lilly, Theo, and Jarrod, show off their mad martial arts skills. We quickly see that one of these three, Jarrod, is a real jerk, and when he starts to take his bad attitude a bit too far, one of the newbie students, Casey, steps in and kicks his butt somehow. Seeing what happened, the old master kicks the jerk dude out, and then takes the other three to a room where he tells them they have been trained to be protector of a box that contains an evil spirit (or something) of a really bad dude.

Okay, so then something really silly happens... well, I mean more silly than what's already happened. The jerk-miester enters the room bent on vengeance, attacks old master, the box is dropped, opened, and out comes mister bad guy himself, Dai Shi (in spirit form). You'd think that a box containing the spirit of a seriously evil being would have a little better protection from simply being dropped. What they should have done was rewrote the scene so that the box took some kind of direct hit, but I guess rewrites weren't in the budget either.

Before fleeing the room, the spirit of Dai Shi mortally wounds the old master. The smart thing to do here would have been to kill the three up-and-coming power rangers, but Dai Shi decides they're not worth the trouble. He just killed a master, how much trouble could it be to just kill them now? Anyway, before he dies, the old master sends the three to an address to meet their new master. The location at the address winds up being a pizza joint, run by some surfer dude named R.J. who also turns out to be their new master.

When Dai Shi sends out bad guys out to cause trouble (yep, that's the whole plan and purpose, just cause trouble), the three teens head on out to fight. Afterwards, R.J. gives them special sunglasses which allow them to transform into Power Rangers. Yeh! Go go Power Rangers! Wow, the fight scenes are just absurd, though. All these fancy fight moves where nobody hits anybody. I know all about movie magic punches, but the thing is you're supposed to at least make it APPEAR that punches connect. These guys don't come anywhere close. It's like the air from the swing is enough to knock people back.

Eventually the lead bad guy of the attacking group grows to Godzilla-like proportions, and the Power Rangers have to learn how to transform their Voltron Lion-like vehicles called Zords into a giant robot to take on the mean beasty. Two of the Zords form the legs, pretty much just like in Voltron, while the third Zord forms everything else, the body, both arms, and the head. That hardly seems fair. And why is that Zord piloted by the rookie of the group?

The first DVD, Into The Jungle, contains the first six episodes of the series and really sets everything up, the story, the good guys, the bad guys, and all that. You see where they all come from, where the good guys get their weapons, how they learn to work together, and how they fit into their new roles as Power Rangers. There isn't a whole lot of background on the bad guy characters, though even so, I have to say Camille is awesome. Sure, her plans are constantly defeated, but she's damn hot! I love that outfit, even if it doesn't show any skin. On the flip side, I hate that little fly thing that narrates the battle. I wish she would just step on that annoying little bug!

The second DVD, Way Of The Master, makes up for the lack of histories by delving into the histories! Plus, a Dai Shi unleashes a bad new villain, Carnisoar, which then introduces a bit of time travel into the mix. And then both discs feature episodes focusing on a specific Power Ranger. These episodes I feel are the weakest, because they exaggerate the character in order for them to be able to overcome whatever their issue happens to be. This makes the character feel a lot more phony than normal (though I guess that's not saying a whole lot). The lessons would be good for kids, but for me they just didn't feel right.

Okay, so we have individual stories and an overall plot thread, and we have lots of villains, some common-looking, some extremely detailed, then lots of cheesy hand-to-hand combat... by the way, since the Power Rangers have robot vehicles that can form into a giant robot, how come they don't just transform into that big guy and just stop on everyone? Sure seems like it would be a lot easier. And there's an episode later on the first disc where Dai Chi once again has the opportunity to destroy the Rangers, and yet he chooses not to do so, and then in the following episodes he complains when his minions can't kill them... what is that about?

I'll tell you what it's about... it'd be difficult to keep the show going if they killed off the Rangers after a handful of episodes. Again, this would have been a good time for a rewrite. You'd figure they could afford it with all the toy crap they put out. Does the Red Ranger REALLY need a motorcycle? No, but he gets one because they figure your kid will have to have it as well. But I digress... this was kinda fun to watch, but it's nothing I'd want to own. If you have kids them maybe you'd want to have it on DVD, otherwise just catch it on TV when you're bored or something.

DVD 1: Power Rangers: Jungle Fury - Into the Jungle
DVD 2: Power Rangers: Jungle Fury - Way of the Master

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