Friday, December 20, 2013
Power Rangers: Jungle Fury Review
HOT DAMN! NEVER Have I been MORE impressed with a Power Rangers series! So as you guys know, I started explore The Post Zordon Era Power Rangers series, Thanks to Linkara's series "History Of The Power Rangers". If you haven't checked that series out, PLEASE DO! I consider it essential viewing for ANY Power Rangers fan. Last time I checked out "Power Rangers: RPM", so I decided to check out the series before that "Power Rangers: Jungle Fury". Which is interesting because I haven't heard much about "Jungle Fury". Now that I've finally got around to finishing it, all I can say is "WOW!". Check out the review after the break!
So this series also got off to an interesting start already, repeating the pattern of "Ninja Storm" in keeping only 3 primary rangers for a good portion of the season. Also it had a few unique factors I thought were interesting. But before we touch on that, let's touch on the uniforms.
The first time I saw these, I immediately thought Motorcross outfits. But ultimately, I like them, very streamlined and NOT busy at all. Also those helmets are AWESOME, especially the visors. Looking a lot like sunglasses, which is what their morphers are, which I think is cool. I've always thought the best morphers are the kind that you can hide in plain sight. Now that we've got that outta the way, let's meet the rangers!
First up we have Casey Rhodes! He's undeniably my 2nd favorite red rangers (next to Jason). Why does Casey enjoy such a prominent place among my hall of favorites? Well it's simple really. Unlike most Red Rangers, Casey is actually the weaker of his team. When the series starts off, Casey is a mere underling. Watching him grow and progress in skill as the series goes on was genuine and heartfelt. Also Casey is very strong and determined in spirit. He never gives up and is willing to follow his own path. Also for someone who started off with the deck stacked against him, he's more than earned his spot as Red Ranger by the end of the series. To say more would be to get into spoiler territory and I don't wanna do that.
Next up is Theo Martin, The Blue Ranger. Undeniably the best of the group. Theo is a well rounded martial artist, nearly mastering anything that's handed to him. He's responsible, honorable but also anal retentive to a point. But after an encounter with Master Swoop (more on him later), Theo chills out. With Casey being picked over him for Red Ranger should have caused a bigger riff between him and Casey, but Theo respects the master's wishes and doesn't raise a big stink about it. Which is awesome.
Lily Chilman is our Yellow Ranger. She's the balancing factor of the group. While Casey sometimes loses his spirit and Theo can sometimes lose his cool, Lily reminds them of team work and maintains the balance of friendship between the rangers. Not to mention she's a formidable fighter and always willing to see the good in people (which plays a factor in the conclusion). She's also the first to receive a new weapon. Her encouraging spirit makes her a very valuable member of the team! Also as a fellow arachnophobe, I can totally sympathize with her. Again, to say more would be spoilers.
Acting as Zordon and The 6th Man is R.J., The team's Master and also THE ONLY PURPLE RANGER EVER TO APPEAR IN A POWER RANGERS SERIES! I wonder why it took them THIS long to get to Purple. Anyway, R.J. is probably my 2nd favorite character of the series. Despite his aloof exterior and good cheer, R.J. does come off as a very solid and intelligent teacher and a MORE than impressive fighter. R.J. comes howling on the scene as the 4th member of the team (technically I count R.J. as a 6th Ranger, since his uniform is different from the others and he's considerably stronger than the other rangers). R.J. has a big heart and NEVER falls into the realm of self-parody or anything, when he gets serious he GET SERIOUS!
The other 6th Man (5th Ranger) is Dominic, showing up later in the series as The Rhino Ranger (once again I count him as a 6th man because his outfit is different and he's slightly stronger than the other rangers). Dominic kinda came out of nowhere and his introduction was slightly rushed, but after that, he became a solid member of the team and meshed well with the characters. He's a bit of a boob, but when it's time to throw down, Dominic is always ready!
Master Phant is Lily's secondary Master. When he first appears on the scene, Master Phant COMPLETELY OWNS The Rangers to discourage them from finding him. Despite being old, when this dude throws down, HE THROWS DOWN!
Master Swoop is AWESOME! I mean look at the dude, he oozes Bad Assness and he lives up to it. Master Swoop takes Theo under his wing. His weapon is the fan, but his Bat spirit allows him to fly, and as a Pai Zhuq Master, Swoop is more than capable of holding his own, and he does, IN A BIG WAY!
Master Finn, R.J.'s dad is Casey's secondary master and after seeing Master Finn, it's clear where R.J. gets his cunning from. Master Finn is willy and clever and his forethought plays a solid role in events to come. Also I think he has the coolest weapon, Shark sabers.
There are a few more good guys I can get into but that'd take quite awhile, so let's jump to the bad guys! Unlike most Power Ranger series, The Bad Guys are centralized to only two people. And those people are as followed.
Dai Shi, HANDS DOWN MY 3RD FAVORITE POWER RANGERS VILLAIN! Dai Shi exists as a spirit and possess the body of Jarrod. Because Dai Shi is confined in human form, he's slightly depowered. This is VERY unique because this is the FIRST time a main Power Rangers villain starts off behind the eightball. While Dai Shi has enough power to walk through The Rangers, their combined efforts can stop him. That being said, it was enjoyable and interesting to see Dai Shi have to grow in skill and strength, juxtaposing The Red Ranger who starts off the series behind the eightball. Despite having the deck stacked against him, Dai Shi is NO pushover and while he does pushed around by some of his teachers, Dai Shi gets his revenge and puts them in their place. Dai Shi ain't NOTHING to play with. I'd elaborate more, but again, spoilers. Let's just say the characters of Jarrod and Casey come full circle in the end.
Camille is the #2 person on the side of baddies. You all remember her as Leelee from "Mystic Force". Anyway, Camille is BEYOND loyal to Dai Shi and is always willing to serve her master despite the verbal abuse she endures from him. That being said, like most Power Ranger generals, she is more than a match for the rangers. Call me crazy but I find her kinda cute, especially when she get fussy.
Long story short, "Jungle Fury" is a series to BEHOLD! The unmorphed fights are fun and exciting, the focus on martial arts is great, the acting is well done, not too over the top and not too cheesy, the characters mesh well and are relatable, the writing is solid and the story comes full circle. I cannot say how much I enjoyed it. If I had to say a few bad things about it, I'd say that the finale felt a touch rushed and didn't have a real doom and gloom impact like previous finales. But the finale felt like a finale and the fights for the finale were AMAZING! Flit, the fly trapped in Camille's stomach started off as a little grating with his commentary on the Ranger's zord fights, but after awhile he stops doing it, and he becomes a character in his own right. The theme song took awhile to grow on me, specifically for that "DAI SHI, GO AWAY!" part, but after awhile I started saying it with them and it really captured the "THERE'S NOTHING WE CAN'T DO!" attitude of the series! This series comes HIGHLY recommended! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED this series!
As for my next Power Ranger series, I'm thinking of going straight to "Megaforce" since I started that, but completely fell behind. I'm LOATHED to check out "Operation Overdrive"...that theme song...ugh! Anyways, let me know what you guys think about "Jungle Fury" and as always, MAY THE POWER PROTECT YOU ALL!