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Power Rangers - Operation Overdrive 4: Star of Isis - children's and family television series DVD review
Rated G by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 4 stars
Actors: Samuell Benta, Rhoda Montemayor, James MacLurcan, Caitlin Murphy, Gareth Yuen
Writer: Bruce Kalish   Studio: Walt Disney Video
DVD release: 12 February 2008   Runtime: 138 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Animated, Color, DVD-Video, NTSC
Features: Audio (English, Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo), Subtitles (English), Ranger Genetic Enhancements, Ranger Reserve Training Course Level 4 (Pink Jewel) - interactive multi-level DVD game

When I was a lad I was quite fond of several Japanese action series: Johnny Sokko and his Giant Robo, Space Giants and UltraMan. These involved giant robots battling other giant beasties and robots on Earth while humans aided, watched in horror, or gasped and ran away. Who could want more?

Power Rangers inhabit this vein of entertainment: ordinary teenagers who transform into helmeted heroes. Occasionally, they'll assume giant robot form and battle baddies from this and other worlds. Two ancient bad brothers (Moltor and Flurious), Fearcats, Kamdor and Miratrix scour the planet to try to find the jewels which were once mounted in an ancient crown called the Corona Aurora. No doubt untold power and riches await whomever can gather these stones together and wield them. These baddies fight one another as well as the Rangers in order to sate their lust for world conquest. Our six brave Power Rangers - Red, Yellow, Black, Pink, Blue, and Mercury - use high technology, genetic modifications, martial arts, robots and courage to battle these evil fiends, in hopes that they'll beat them to the stones and artifacts they seek.

The action is fast and energetic and will have children running about shouting "Full Power!", "Overdrive Accelerate!" and other Power Ranger buzz phrases. The violence is more symbolic than actual. Swords wielded make glowing slashes and sparks fly when they find their marks, but no wounds are produced. No clothing torn, no blood to be seen. Especially devastating attacks will produce a giant wall of fire behind an opponent who then leaps into the air in apparent agony. Recovery is quick, however. The Power Rangers do not take their power for granted and do not just kill willy-nilly.

The underlying plot of Operation Overdrive is somewhat flimsy and may not hold up to deep scrutiny, but it's purpose is to drive more and more spectacular battles, which it does nicely. I also find the theme music especially infectious.

The Power Rangers remind me of those long-lost series from my youth. Perhaps they haven't gone away, they've just morphed.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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