Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

So, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is out this week.

There were several reasons for and against my venture to the local multiplex to catch another cinematic account of the four radical reptiles’ heroic exploits.

My memories of the eighties cartoon and trading cards from my school days proved the biggest draw, particularly the promise of big screen versions of iconic characters such as Bebop, Rocksteady and Krang. I also had a morbid curiosity to see if director Dave Green could juggle all these elements.

On the other hand, Michael Bay.

Anyway, nostalgia and curiosity prevailed and I found myself traipsing to the cinema to pick up where 2014’s reboot left off.

Our heroes remain the silent protectors of the city, still harbouring a collective desire to integrate with the New York populace but resigned to the fact that they cannot.

The turtles have therefore agreed that Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett) takes the credit for saving the city the first time around and defeating Shredder.

Speaking of Shredder (played by Brian Tee this time around), he finds himself en route to a maximum security prison, implausibly accompanied by two knuckleheads called Bebop and Rocksteady, played respectively by Gary Anthony Williams and Stephen Farrelly, better known as Sheamus from WWE.

One of the corrections officers along for the ride is a young ice hockey fan by the name of Casey Jones (Stephen Amell).

A plan to liberate Shredder is afoot (no pun intended) and members of his notorious clan are in cahoots with scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) to make it happen. Hot on Stockman’s trail is investigative reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox).

It’s a long story but Shredder comes to cross paths with an inter-dimensional being known as Krang and before you can say ‘world domination plotline’ the two make an alliance which can only spell trouble for, well, everyone.

The good news about the film is that the turtles, in their computer-generated guise, are a little easier to bear this time. Frat-boy attitudes aside.

The bad news is that some of the long-awaited big-screen incarnations do not prove as successful.

Bebop and Rocksteady, famously replaced by sub-standard stand-ins Tokka and Razhar for 1991’s Secret of the Ooze at the behest of the Turtles creators, are as annoying as you would expect. As cartoon characters, they work well, but the translation to film sees much loss. In short, sometimes the most faithful adaptation isn’t the right one.

The same goes for Krang, who is every bit the warbling mutant squid that he should be. Yet you still wish he had been done differently.

With these failings, you would hope that the human characters salvage matters. They don’t.

Megan Fox’s character remains as limited as ever, confirmed by one gratuitous sexy-outfit-change early doors, and Stephen Ammel’s interpretation of Casey Jones has you desperately missing Elias Koteas’ offbeat but definitive take on the hockey-masked one back in 1990

As for the story-line, the film merrily skips across the line from ‘homage’ to ‘retread’ in its relation to the 1991 sequel.

If you are basically looking for a CGI film with some live action effects, this may satisfy.

If on the other hand, you are increasingly exhausted with Michael Bay shamelessly injecting your childhood memories with testosterone and explosives, avoid this one like your inner voice is telling you to.

Conor Brennan

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Dates ‘n stuff

June 2016