Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive Review

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Alrighty, last time I did a review of the STELLAR (in my humble opinion) top notch series that was "Power Rangers: Jungle Fury", ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! This time we take a look at "Power Rangers: Operation Overdrive". Aside from having the longest title of all the Power Ranger series, "Operation Overdrive" is the least talked about series and because of that, I really didn't know much going into it. That being said, prior to my whole Power Rangers watching session, I did watch 3 episodes of "Operation Overdrive" and in reality those were the only episodes I needed to watch. This series was unfortunately very lack luster and I'll explain why after the break.

So this series was clearly based off of an adventure sentai, what with the vast majority of their zords being larger constructions vehicles (honestly, The Mercury Ranger's zords had water launchers...water launchers...they launched water...) a cement truck, a truck with a crane, and The Yellow Ranger's *coughs* Drive Claws being scoop shovels...yeah, I could tell I was in for a LOOOOOOOOOOONG series. That's not to say this series sucked, no, just compared to the others...they could've done MUCH better. At the very least I can say it was better than "Turbo" (what isn't?) but at the most I can say, great concept, clunky execution.  This series also has Civilian Powers (e.g. abilities that don't require morphing), however after awhile the powers become useless and under used to the point where you forget they have them. This series is also unique because it has several main villains and it doesn't adhere to the "Monster Of The Week" premise that's so ingrained in Power Rangers. Anyways, let's take a gander at the outfits.
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These outfits remind me of The RPM outfits, except in this case these are MUCH BETTER! Not very streamlined, but at the same time not busy either, somewhere in between. The White in the middle works for everyone except The Yellow as it make her entire costume blend together and the Black on Silver of the Mercury Ranger's outfit and shoulder pads are a nice touch. Much better than the "Lost Galaxy" outfits in my opinion.

The series starts off with our Zordon character, billionaire,scientist, explorer extraordinaire Andrew Hartford as he finds The Corona Aurora (The Crown Of The Gods), he releases The Sentinel Knight and is informed the 2 brothers Moltar and Flurious have returned to obtain The Crown. Yeah, bit of a backstory here, but before we get to that, let's meet The Rangers.

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First up is Mack Hartford and as Red Ranger, he does a good job and it makes sense why he'd be the Red Ranger as he is Mr. Hartford's son. Unlike other Red Rangers, Mack doesn't too much take a leadership role as this group is more of a team with each member (except for Dax, THANK GOD, more on that later) playing the role of leader. He has spunk and energy and the kind of attitude mostly found in Red Rangers. He's a cool character and I liked Mack, can't really think of a bad thing to say about him.

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Following up is Rose Ortiz, the Pink Ranger and I'd say she was mostly 2nd in command, considering she's the most intelligent of the group and the one doing most of the research work. Just like Mack, she has the gusto to rally the team together and get a job done. She was a good character, though not memorable.

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Will, The Black Ranger, easily the enforcer of the group. Originally, Will is a security specialist...much like Stallone's character in "Escape Plan",  he secures lost and rare artifacts for museums and such. Will isn't a leader like Mack and Rose but he is a character that has taken charger on more than one occasion. He's a clutch player when the chips are down. Originally, I didn't care much for Will, mostly because the actor playing him has this constant smirk on his face like he's constantly on the verge of flirting with the female cast members. But after awhile I just chalked it up to Will being confident in himself. However, there is one episode in particular where his acting was just bad...even for Power Rangers.

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Ronny, the Yellow Ranger is the least memorable and she was basically a grunt, doing everything Mack, Rose and Will told her to do. She really didn't have any episodes where she really stood out or did something noteworthy. While she's still a good character, I'm hard pressed to say she was at the level of any other Yellow ranger than came before her.

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Dax Lo...unfortunately, he will be the person I remember the most, for all the wrong reasons. Dax is, to put it bluntly a moron and an absolute drain on the team. While Dax was competent in the series, as a person, Dax is just flat out stupid. His expertise is martial arts, but far be it for me to prefer a stereotype, but it'd be nice if Dax's "stupidity" was actually an aloofness about life or a very Zen outlook that allows him to be happy even in the midst of bad circumstances...but no...Dax is just dumb...and annoying and mind numbingly cheery even the point where Pinkie Pie would be enraged and consumed with fury. Everytime he opened his mouth I wanted a fist to find it's way in it.

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Making his way as The 6th man, Tyzonn, a Mercurian from Mercuria. Like most 6th Rangers, Tyzonn appears on the scene as a villain, but after circumstances drive Mack and Tyzonn into close quarters, he discovers Tyzonn's actually good. As a 6th Ranger, I gotta say, Tyzonn is...less than impressive. While when he first appeared he was strutting his stuff with his Mercurian powers but, eventually he just kinda blended in with everyone else and didn't seem to add much fire power to the group. Usually 6th Rangers are completely and total badasses until The Red Ranger gets their battlizer, but Tyzonn never came off as a badass.

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Not a ranger, but I'm still counting him, Sentinel Knight, now personally, I think he should've been The Zordon of the series and his appearances in the series are few and far between to the point where you forget he's there. He appears here and there as a ghostly apparition informing the rangers of danger and such. But he was under used and didn't really becomes relevant until the last few episodes, which is sad because they could've developed his character much more than they did. At times he came off very ancient and powerful, other times he came off bubbly and jovial. I'm just not sure what to make of him, but I like him.

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The actual Zordon of the team is Andrew Hartford, I have to say for a guy who has built zordons, and androids and gained access to The Morphing Grid, he doesn't come off as that kinda guy. I'm not saying he has to be this super smart, rich guy, but at the same time, Rose came off a lot smarter than him and that's saying a lot. Andrew Hartford doesn't come off as wise or sage like and he really doesn't come off as a commander. He comes off more like the boss of a company, so when he says things like "That's an order." and "GET OUTTA THERE!" it comes off as forced and cheesy. Operation Overdrive isn't a military operation and The Power Rangers are not paramilitary personnel, so this is just weird. But Mr. Hartford does have his strong points as he is a concerned father and that's always a good thing.

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Acting as Alpha is Mr. Hartford's butler, Spencer. Spencer's cool, although the disguises (and you'll know what I mean when you see them) were just weird and uncalled for. Spencer serves his purpose as Alpha, sending the zords, offering advice and helping out when he can. Also, like most English butlers he's not without his dry wit and humor, which works. Good character. Okay onto the villains and HOLY CRAP is there a crap ton of villains to go through. Let's get started.

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Moltor and Flurious, are the primary villains for the beginning of the series. They're two brothers who were transformed somehow, Moltor obviously became equipped with fire power and Flurious with ice power. Obviously they don't get along and are constantly bickering back and forth. Theres this running gag about a sled...and ugh. While Moltor is the coolest looking he was unfortunately, the one taken the least serious and the most active, Flurious was obviously the most vocal about obtaining The Crown. When I first saw them I immediately pegged them as being Hulk Hogan (Flurious) and Satan (Moltor). I never cared for Flurious and I'll get to why, but the short answer is, he's PAINFULLY incompetent. Same goes for Moltor. Flurious just never struck me as being all that menacing and I VERY much prefered the team below;

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Kamdor and Miratrix! These two came out of NOWHERE, no backstory, no nothing, just suddenly popped up and THEY WERE AWESOME! Kamdor and Miratrix are like ninjas, although I'm assuming they're both aliens? Kamdor is warrior villain, always ready with his swords and willing to throw down and walk through the Rangers. He should've been the main villain as he was far more menacing, cunning and intelligent than Moltor and Flurious combined. I liked his look, his swagger and he wasn't prone to fits of shouting. Miratrix is Kamdor's hot and trusty side-kick, not as hot as Tenaya7, but definitely up there. They kept their circle small and didn't have a collection of expendable soldiers like Moltor and Flurious. The byplay between them was good, their chemistry was good and they worked as a team. I really wish they were the main villains, it's a shame how things turned out for them, and sadly felt really forced.

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The Fearcats, Mig & Benglo. They appeared somewhere in the middle and were a primarily antagonists to Tyzonn. There's also a 3rd Fearcat named Crazar but she only lasts a few episode and gets wrapped up pretty quickly. While I loved Kamdor & Miratrix's chemistry as a duo and they gave off the proper villain vibe, The Fearcats were undeniably the most ruthless villains of this series. They walked through the Rangers time and time again and thanks to Flurious's gyro-technology they came back stronger than ever. Not to mention, The Fearcats come the closest to almost beating The Power Rangers (which is EXTREMELY sad considering how the finale played out). The Fearcats are the true meaning of "No honor among thieves." and they were willing to lie, cheat, steal and backstab ANYONE to get ahead. Their treachery got so bad that even the villains were rooting for The Power Rangers to take them out. They were excellent secondary villains. If ONLY they played 2nd fiddle to Kamdor and Miratrix and NOT Moltor & Flurious.

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Okay...there's the reason why Flurious is a horrible villain and it's name is Norg. Norg is Flurious's pet Yeti and quite possibly the thing that almost made this series unwatchable! Norg is the very definition of "Big, dumb oaf" except in this case, that's all Norg is, just a big, dumb oaf. I was hoping that despite being large and stupid Norg would be incredible strong and durable and his mindless fury would be something the Rangers would have to contend with...BUT NO! Norg serves NO FUNCTION AT ALL EXCEPT COMIC RELIEF and his "comic relief" isn't even comical and immature and lame...even for a kids show. The end of Norg's character arc is so painfully obvious that I don't even have to spoil it for you. Big dumb oaf working for the bad guy...you see where this is going. The very fact that Flurious DIDN'T kill Norg is a trust testament to how much fail one villain can achieve. I hate Norg, I hate Norg, I hate Norg and if I hadn't made it clear, I hate Norg. He's useless, a drain on the plot, a drain in every scene he's in and the biggest misstep in this series.

The theme song, okay, I admittedly hated it, but after awhile it's staccato cadence eventually grew on, and while I don't care for the actual lyrics of the song, it does match the tone of the series.

Overall, "Operation Overdrive" was a decent but forgettable Power Ranger series, good concept, good ideas but poor execution. The finale was blundered on many levels and was extremely disappointing for me. I still think "Countdown To Destruction Pts. 1 & 2", "Danger & Destiny Pts. 1 & 2", "The End Of The Power Rangers Pts. 1 &2" and "Chase Into Space Pts. 1 & 2" were some of the BEST Power Ranger finales, with a real sense of "Holy crap, The Rangers are really screwed.". "Crown & Punishment", for all the ideas and build up going into it, should've been MUCH, MUCH MORE than it was and the fact that it was what it was...was...well...a major fail. In reality there are only 3 episodes of "Operation Overdrive" you need to watch and that's "Once A Rangers Pts. 1 & 2" where Xander (from "Mystic Force), Bridge (from "SPD"), Tori (from "Ninja Storm"), Kira (from "Dino Thunder) and Adam (the 2nd Black Rangers from "Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers) arrive to help the team out when they get disconnected from the morphing grid. Also Alpha 6 makes a cameo and it's ALWAYS great to see Alpha! The 3rd episode is "Things Not Said", I won't spoil this episode but if you're paying attention to clue dropped in the first episode and certain events throughout the series, you'll catch on. Sadly, "Things Not Said" is out of place in a series like that and would've been MUCH better in "RPM" and they did do that in "RPM" but...let me not say anymore.

Would I recommend "Operation Overdrive", no, not really and that's the sad thing. After seeing "RPM" and "Jungle Fury", I know they are capable of things MUCH better than this, and considering "SPD" came before this, it's a little jarring that that "Operation Overdrive" would be so lackluster. Anyways, that'll do it for me, I can't decide on whether I should start on "Samurai" or continue with "Megaforce", something tells me I should continue with "Megaforce" since I started it, but we'll see. Anyways, may the power protect you all.

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