Shout! Factory // 1997 // 390 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // May 31st, 2013
"Forces of darkness empower me. Take me back to my virtual reality."
Grimlord is back and he's insistent on carrying out his evil plan: Invade Earth and subjugate the masses. Grimlord has a couple of problems, however. In the Earth realm, he's unable to achieve his full frightening demon form and must masquerade as a run-of-the-mill industrial tycoon. His second problem is even bigger: The VR Troopers.
Charged with defeating Grimlord and his minions, Ryan Steele, Kaitlin Star, and JB Reese -- seemingly mild-mannered karate-loving youths with fresh hairdos -- take up the mantle of VR Troopers, high-tech fighters in battlesuits who journey to the Virtual World to wage violence against the interlopers.
This is yet another Haim Saban joint. Despite existing in the same production company as its Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers brethren, it's difficult to see VR Troopers as anything other than an also-ran. The creatures aren't as cool, the character designs are underwhelming, and no one joins together to form gigantic plastic robots.
The first half of Season 2 is a gaudy 20 episodes, with a hefty five-part story arc called "Quest for Power" anchoring the run. The rest are standard-issue VR Troopers fluffernutter: Grimlord talking trash, some karate action, followed by a laser-blast and explosion-laced finale filthy with footage from a Japanese kids show.
While I can make peace with incoherent plots and dodgy lifted footage, what makes VR Troopers the red-headed stepchild of the Japanese-import kids show racket is the generally crappiness of it all. The main characters are stiffs, and the big bad is so poorly acted you end up clamoring for his plans to succeed, if only to be spared from his clunky head-vein-popping diatribes.
The DVD: standard def 1.33:1 full frame, Dolby 2.0 Stereo, English CC subtitles, and mercifully no extras.
The real tragedy in all of this? It's Season 2 and someone thought the stupid talking dog was still a good idea.
Guilty. Exile these Troopers to the nearest AOL chat room.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Shout! Factory
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* English (CC)
Running Time: 390 Minutes
Release Year: 1997
MPAA Rating: Not Rated