For a generation of American kids, most who are now adults, the Power Rangers were the ultimate superhero team. The color-coded ninjas with their powerful “zords” wreaked havoc on a universe of evil while their teenage alter egos wrestled with typical adolescent angst.
Now, all that adventure is coming to the big screen, and the advertisements are everywhere … but that’s not the only Power Ranger in the headlines. Ricardo Medina, Jr., who played the Red Ranger on Power Rangers Wild Force in 2002 and voiced Deker on Power Rangers Samurai in 2011 and 2012, was recently sentenced to six years in prison.
According to the verdict, rendered via plea agreement, Medina stabbed his roommate with a sword, killing him, two years ago. Medina was initially charged with first-degree murder in the death of Joshua Sutter, but he agreed to plead to a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter in order to avoid a possible conviction and a life sentence.
Court records show that Medina stabbed Sutter during an argument at the home they shared north of Los Angeles. The argument started over Medina’s girlfriend. When it became heated, Medina said he and his girlfriend ran to his bedroom, where they tried to hide until, according to him, Sutter broke through the door. Medina then stabbed Sutter, he claims, in self-defense.
Prior to the sentencing, Sutter’s family was allowed to speak. Sutter’s father, Donald, said, as reported by the Associated Press: “Put this killer in general population so he will see and feel the same fear that Joshua must have felt…”
This is not at all the kind of publicity the Power Rangers brand really wants when they’re trying to bring their first big budget film to market in two decades. There have been two previous Power Rangers movies, in 1995 and 1997 respectively. While both were essentially panned by critics, fans of the show loved seeing their favorite heroes on the silver screen.
Fast forward 20 years and those fans are adults, but producers are hoping they’re at the right age for nostalgia. The just-released Power Rangers movie is a true big budget Hollywood action flick, complete with visuals that make the source TV program feel ancient. Despite the modern upgrades, producers hope their new movie has enough of the classic nostalgia to delight fans.
And that’s what producers are hoping the headlines are all about. Even if the critics feel about this latest movie like they did the previous two, those are much better headlines tied to the Power Rangers brand than reports about Medina.