It's at times like this that I realise how talented the writers for 'Rangers' are, to take footage from a silly aintentionally campy kids show and try and turn it into a darker-er more mature-ish series must take some talent.
Actually it's usually been the other way around. For the most part, Super Sentai
has tended to be more serious and sophisticated than its Power Rangers
adaptations. Certainly a lot more violent, without the whitewashing and avoidance of death that's usually mandatory in US kidvid. But over the years, the PR franchise has evolved to be more and more like the SS franchise, and perhaps there's been some reciprocal influence as well. Go-onger
was unusual in adopting a more juvenile, comical style, and conversely RPM
was exceptional in how dark and sophisticated it was for a PR season.
And as I said, mainly the way RPM
managed was by using as little Go-onger
footage as they could get away with.
All I'd probably end up doing would be re-dubbing it and recasting the actors.
To some extent, that's what the Wild Force
season did, in a way. Usually the PR storylines are very different from the corresponding SS storylines, but WF was an almost beat-for-beat remake, the only major differences being the identities/storylines of the Red Ranger and the archvillain. Some seasons have adapted parts of the storyline fairly closely (like the Magna Defender storyline in Lost Galaxy
) and gone in a very different direction otherwise (like setting LG on a space colony ship instead of Earth, and using original villains for most of the season).
After giving up at the start of Turbo, this is what got me back, specifically Ninja Storm. I know you weren't a fan of the show, but I wasn't looking for much depth when I came across it, since it was Power Rangers. Rather, I liked that the fight choreography was much faster, that hand movements (blocks, parries, punches, etc) were emphasized a lot more, and that superpowers were used far more often than they were before. It could have been a side effect of how Hollywood was adopting a more East Asian attitude towards fight scenes (American fight scenes used to serve only plot purposes, but Wuxia fight scenes serve to show off physicality, fluidity, and beauty) thanks to the Matrix and Crouching Tiger, but to see that attitude adopted much more deliberately for Power Rangers was such a nice twist to see. Doubly so since in the past, little actual martial arts were used; kicks were just kicks, they weren't really patterned after specific styles, for example. Fight scenes of the past seemed clunky and unappealing, but NS' fight scenes seemed terrifically modern and hyperkinetic.
I quite liked the action sequences in the early seasons. Walter Jones certainly used a distinctive style (called "hip-hopkido," kind of a capoeira variant) in his fight scenes, and it was damned impressive to watch.
What I liked about the original cast was that they clearly did their own stunts. That was something that happened less as time went on, as new cast members were hired more just as actors with doubles doing the bulk of the stunt work. I didn't find that as impressive.
Story aside, my one complaint about NS was its legacy: it made sense for our heroes to have non-Ranger powers in civilian mode. They're studying exaggerated takes on traditional ninja abilities with a magical bent. However, each season after that, every Ranger team had to have civilian powers, and each reason became more convoluted and forced, such as mutantcy. The only one that really made sense theme wise was Mystic Force, for obvious reasons.
Again, though, I like it when the cast members are shown in action out of costume, where you can see the actors themselves performing the stunts. So I like the idea of giving the Rangers "civilian" powers, and regret that the use of such powers generally fizzled out after the first few episodes.
I think the powers in Jungle Fury
made as much sense as in Ninja Storm
, for much the same reason. The idea in JF was that they were tapping on the animal spirits within themselves, as an outgrowth of their martial-arts training. Indeed, their Ranger powers were presented as an extension of their inherent chi powers.