Judge David Johnson may not be a super samurai, but he's an above-average ronin.
Our review of Power Rangers Super Samurai: Rise of the Bullzooka, published February 3rd, 2013, is also available.
"Rangers together, Samurai forever!"
Though this may be the 19th season of the Power Rangers franchise, the faces and gigantic plastic monsters have changed so much, I can no longer keep up. Here's where we're at…
The evil Master Xandred, a nightmarish amalgam of discarded Construx and department store mannequin limbs, has returned on his evil magic boat with one purpose: to flood the Earth with poison river water from his evil realm and rule both worlds, possibly in an evil manner. To accomplish this feat, he follows The Power Rangers Villain Handbook to a tee, deploying henchmen and monsters that grow into giants to stomp out humanity. Standing in his way are the Power Rangers Samurai—now the SUPER Samurai—made up of the Red, Yellow, Pink, Blue, and Green Rangers, with a special assist from the Gold Ranger with the crappiest Zord ever (a lobster).
When the circumstances call for it, our heroes turn their Zords into the members of an even more powerful Zord, a lumbering over-encumbered Samurai so chock full of plastic he has the mobility of a Roomba. The Gold Ranger also turns his Zord into big fighting robot, but he's even more of a load than his counterpart. So what are two immobile, impotent Zords to do when squaring off with more nimble foes? How about breaking apart and reforming as a Super-Samurai-Super-Zord? Creating one monstrous, even-more-clunky super-weapon made of plastic and laser beams! Turns out, that's enough to best Master Xandred, who—despite more fearsome attire and a gravelly voice—continues in the well-worn tradition of completely inept Power Rangers antagonists.
The good news is you can expect closure from this 20-episode season. The "Super" part of Power Rangers Super Samurai was new this go-round, offering our heroes advanced powers and picking up from last season. But when the smoke clears, there will be some resolution.
Although the thought does occur to me…Who cares?
The answer is "no one," because when you get to the heart of the matter, the Power Rangers series have never been about storytelling or character development. All we're after here is some inspired Japan-engineered giant monster and robot fisticuffs sprinkled with ham-fisted dime store moralizing. Thankfully, the latter is not as prevalent here as in seasons past, where the kids were battling everything from toxic waste disposal to nuclear power. This season, the Super Samurai are pretty much interested in straight-up teamwork, and most of the lessons eventually wheel around to those lovable Zord collectivist tendencies.
Rest assured, the mayhem is as over-the-top as ever. These Rangers are tricked out with more weapons and gear than I can recall. The dinosaur Zords have been traded in for other animals, but what makes this bot-on-beast craziness even crazier are the insane creature designs (the production team must be mainlining Splenda to conjure up these outfits) and weapons systems, highlighted by a sword that's made out of a CGI shark. In fact, there's a boatload of CGI, with the practical plastic Zords swapped out for computer generated representations. Some of it's corny looking, but fear not, the final confrontations between the monsters and the fully-formed robots remain practically implemented.
In short, Power Rangers Super Samurai is like any other Power Rangers show, minus the juice bar and gymnastics. Enjoy!
Lionsgate's Blu-ray delivers, serving up a slick 1.78:1/1080p HD transfer that offers the most vibrant and detailed look I've ever seen from the Rangers. The mayhem pops, thanks to the amped resolution. The DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio dutifully pumps out that supercharged trademark Power Rangers faux metal. Bonus features include a music video, a "swarm flash mob video," and some brief fitness PSAs.
It's the Power Rangers. What do you want? Not Guilty.
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