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Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers

3.9 out of 5 stars 260 customer reviews

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(Mar 14, 2006)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers (DVD)

The epic adventure of Babylon 5 enters a new age for humankind... The wars have ended, and an unprecedented era of exploration is at hand. Under the guidance of the Interstellar Alliance, the Rangers, an elite military group of humans and aliens, enforces peace and rebuilds civilization. But these young heroes may have met their match when they encounter a previously unknown alien race more powerful--and more lethal--than any encountered before.


Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers is a two-hour television movie created by J. Michael Straczynski (original creator of the Babylon 5 series) for the Sci-Fi Channel. The telefilm takes place in 2264 after the wars are over and a new age of space exploration has begun. Science-fiction fans are notoriously hard to please, and few have anything good to say about The Legend of the Rangers, produced in 2002 to introduce a spinoff of the popular Babylon 5 TV series. The naysayers have a point. Few elements of this 90-minute pilot, subtitled "To Live and Die in Starlight," will likely be memorialized among the genre's golden moments; the dialogue is often clunky and on-the-nose, the acting is less than stellar, and the effects work, while pretty good, doesn't live up to the standard set by Stargate, Farscape, and others. Nevertheless, there's a reasonably compelling story here, involving the elite Rangers (made up of humans and aliens alike, including the Minbari, who sport "head bones" instead of hair and whose cute little ears are placed on the sides of their necks) and the threat posed to the universe by a mysterious new foe known as "the Hand" (these are some seriously bad dudes, a race that has lain dormant for many years but is now back with a vengeance). Front and center is human Ranger David Martell (played by Dylan Neal). Court-martialed for choosing to save his crew rather then lead them to certain death (in violation of a code mandating that "we do not retreat, whatever the reason"), he's put in command of the Liandra, a ship that's not only funkier than Han Solo's Millennium Falcon but haunted to boot. Of course, as events play out, Martell and his pals end up as the last line of defense against the Hand, not only pitted against these implacable enemies but also dealing with a traitor among the good guys. The themes (honor vs. expediency, dark forces arrayed against peace-seekers, human impetuousness tangling with ancient alien wisdom) are familiar, and the outcome is far from unpredictable. Still, there are a lot less entertaining ways to spend 90 minutes than with Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers. --Sam Graham

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Dylan Neal, Andreas Katsulas, Alex Zahara, Myriam Sirois, Dean Marshall
  • Directors: Michael Vejar
  • Writers: J. Michael Straczynski
  • Producers: Ron McLeod
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Warner Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: March 14, 2006
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,026 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Babylon 5: The Legend of the Rangers" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Mark Baker - Carstairs Considers HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 14, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Ranger David Martell (Dylan Neal) has committed a horrid offense - staying alive. The Ranger code strictly states that at no time shall a Ranger back down from a fight. But with his ship out-gunned, David doesn't force a fight, thereby living to fight another day.

A funny thing happens on the way to his court marshal. Saner heads prevail, and he is allowed to stay in the Rangers. He was in line to be given command of a new ship just coming off the assembly line. He does still get to command a ship, but he is given command of a 20-year-old Minbari ship rumored to be haunted.

His first assignment is to provide support for a larger ship taking a group of delegates to an undisclosed location. Even with all the secrecy, they still fly into an ambush, and David and his crew must use every trick up their sleeve if they are going to survive this encounter with an ancient race.

I had only watched this movie once, the day it first aired. I was less then impressed. I bought it mainly so I could complete my Babylon 5 collection. The movie was actually better then I remembered.

The story presented here is entertaining. It had been long enough since I had seen it that I couldn't remember much about it and was pulled into the action again. The acting by a group of unknowns is top notch, and the characters are interesting enough that I wish the series had been picked up so we could learn more about them. Fan favorite Andreas Katsulas (who unfortunately passed away recently) returns as G'Kar, the only character from the original series to appear. His performance, as always, is great. And the dialog is witty. I was laughing out loud at many of the lines. This is some of the sharpest writing series creator J. Michael Straczynski (JMS) has done.
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I've been a Fan of Babylon 5 since the beginning and I honestly think the best episodes of that show were some of the best hours of television I've ever seen. That said, Rangers kind of sucked the big one. Sucked it pretty darn hard actually. There are many things that I could chose to pick on about this movie. But I'm going to keep this short by concentrating on the two things which most severely cheesed me off. Number 1: That the Rangers, a group run by Delenn and Sheridan, a group which spent much of its existence doing reconnoissance, would have a policy of death before retreat. How frickin silly is that? Talk about lame. Number 2: The awful, awful, silly, embarrassing, lackluster battle room sequences where some chick threw punches and karate kicks at holographic space ships to activate the ship's weapons durring battle. These scenes literally embarrassed me and helped me to understand why some people find science fiction impossibly corney.

In truth, though, I think JMS is a hell of a writer and I sincerely wish that Rangers had gotten good enough ratings to be green lit as a series. After all the original B5 pilot really wasn't very good either and look how that turned out.
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Worse than Infection? That's saying quite a bit. I have to agree this film has some serious problems, for example, the Kung Fu weapons sequence is literally embarrassing, even if you watch it alone. Yet even the idea of a gunner immersed in a VR system (sans the kicking and screaming) was interesting -- with some work it could have been interesting. Moreover, the chemistry between the crew was much better than that in the original pilot, especially between the captain and his second in command.

Rather than chronicle the flaws in this movie -- and they are legion -- I will just say this: the critics of this film are correct in every detail. I cannot find a single particular where you would be wrong (right down to the quality of the video); however, if you step back and see the totality of this pilot (and what it could have become, warts and all) it becomes more enjoyable. The story is predictable, but that was exactly the the technique used by JMS in the original B5: to give the audience a predictable story, with stereotypical characters, and then slowly have them begin to behave and evolve in ways you never would have expected.

There are even a few moments which, far from being embarrassing, bring it all back. The last scene where G'Kar says his famous line about B5, and they show the Babylon station, actually got an emotional reaction from me and the people I was watching the show with.

Deeply flawed, but as G'Kar would say, not without hope.
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If you're as much of a fan of Babylon 5 as I am, you'll be compelled to check out this movie, which was a pilot for a follow-on series. The pilot didn't sell the show. (Crusade also took place in the same general timeframe, after the Shadow war and other events of the 5-year B5 series. Crusade was destroyed by TV network stupidity, not by the creator's vision or a lackluster script--a subject that I go into in my review of that box set.)

I'm not sure who's at fault in The Legend of the Rangers, but this doesn't work very well as a standalone movie. If you love the universe already, you're going to watch this no matter what I tell you (and it's definitely worth seeing _once_). But if you're trying to catch up to learn what the shouting is all about... cast your eyes aside. This isn't the best of what the Babylon5 universe has to offer.

It's important to remember that this was a pilot, so there's a lot more exposition than in an ordinary movie. The characters stand around with an uncomfortable amount of conversation in the "As you know, this is What Has Gone Before," and make rather bald statements meant to convey "This is my role in the show; don't you think I should keep the part?" That makes any storytelling awkward -- a rule that applied equally well to the original Babylon 5 pilot, which had something like 18 characters to introduce in a 90-minute show. The Legend of the Rangers doesn't have quite as long a casting call, but it somehow (and not very smoothly) has to bring you up to date on the whole B5 history, and introduce the bad guys who our crew will be battling with, presumably, throughout the proposed Season One.
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