Director Joseph Kahn delivered a truly gritty Power Rangers reboot this week with his unauthorized short film. Power/Rangers is a badass epilogue to Power Rangers Zeo, complete with betrayal, sex, drugs, and lots of blood. It could never be made by Hollywood, as Kahn correctly pointed out, and Hollywood can't even live with its existence.
Saban Entertainment pressured Vimeo into taking down the NSFW version of the short film and has been harassing the director, according to Kahn himself. SCG Power Rangers LLC, a division of Saban, owns the rights to Power Rangers and is producing a 2016 reboot with Lionsgate.
Saban is trying to shut POWER/RANGERS down. If you'd like to keep watching, tell them to stop harassing me http://t.co/Gb3KfwMbAX— Joseph Kahn (@JosephKahn) February 24, 2015
Kahn insists that his indie short film is a "parody" and is therefore protected by the "fair use" doctrine of U.S. copyright law.
"Every image in Power/Rangers is original footage," he wrote in a series of tweets. "Nothing was pre-existing. There is no copyrighted footage in the short. I am not making any money on it and I refuse to accept any from anyone. It was not even kickstarted, I paid for it myself. This was made to be given away for free. It is just as if I drew a pic of Power Rangers on a napkin and I gave it to my friend."
Six million friends, to be exact. A tamer version of the video is still alive on YouTube and racking up views.
Saban isn't the only one miffed by Kahn's dark imagining of the kids franchise. Jason David Frank, the original Green Ranger, posted a video to Facebook voicing his displeasure. "I'm just a PG-13 guy—like the cuss words, the drugs, all this other stuff doesn't fly with me," he said. "You can't take a brand like this and reboot it so dark and gritty. ... We have to be responsible and know this is still a kids brand."