Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows, 2016.
Directed by Dave Green.
Starring Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Tyler Perry, Brian Tee, Gary Anthony Williams, Stephen Farrelly, Brad Garrett, Alessandra Ambrosio and Laura Linney.
The Turtles return to save the city from a dangerous threat.
Teenage Mutant Teenage Turtles: Out of the Shadows – or should that be The Secret of the Ooze: Reloaded? The sequel to 2013’s surprisingly huge Turtles reboot has more in common with the 1990’s sequel than its own predecessor, given that many plot points and strands are re-engineered for this second go around with our favourite heroes in a half-shell Donatello, Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo. And as with the first Michael Bay-produced film, it’s an extravaganza of colour, frenetic action and endless slow-motion shots. So more of the same really, but bizarrely it’s actually better. Well, slightly.
With original director Jonathan Liebesman vacating the director’s chair, the sequel is under the helm of Dave Green who brought us 2014 children’s adventure Earth to Echo. Not exactly the most high-profile of previous employment to nab the sequel gig but in Green’s hands everything feels a little fresher. Where Liebesman’s limp, insipid direction felt very uninspired, Green adds a new energy to proceedings that helps thrust the film rather than help sink it. We launch head-first back into the world of the Turtles, night guardians of New York City who appear from the dark underbelly of the sewers to enact justice on those intent of bringing the city to its knees.
Still teamed with reporter April O’Neill (Megan Fox), they soon learn of the imminent break-out of their old adversary Shredder, still hellbent on bringing them down a peg or two. Added into the mix is classic Turtles villain Krang (voiced by Brad Garrett) who enlists Shredder to help him open an interdimensional portal to Earth to unleash his Technodrome, a “world engine” set to decimate Earth. We also get our first introductions to classic Turtles characters Casey Jones (Amell) and Beebop and Rocksteady, brought to mutated life thanks to the aforementioned ooze.
If all that sounds head-spinningly complicated it is, but switch your brain off and there is a decent enough time to be had. Everything is cranked up to the proverbial “11” here: action set-pieces are larger and dizzier than before that will be met with many screams of admiration from younger audiences, but there is no true substance to them below surface level nor does there ever feel any real threat or danger at any point. It’s cartoonish fun to the nth degree and judging by the success of its predecessor, is exactly what the fans want to see and will hit every button and then some.
The same can be said about the human contingent, who continue the cartoon motif but only Amell comes away from proceedings with any dignity. Fox continues to be a one-dimensional bore while the usually reliable Will Arnett is relegated even further down the pecking order with only glimpses of his impeccable comic timing. Gary Anthony Williams and Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly as Bebop and Rocksteady have great fun with their mutated counterparts but their schtick becomes tiresome before too long. And the less said about Tyler Perry’s plainly awfully performance as Shredder’s in-house mad scientist Baxter Stockman the better – it’s an early contender for worst of the year.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will not win over any haters of the first film as sequel continues down the same Bay-infused blueprint of wild, nauseating action but there is some enjoyment to be had on the second adventure with our favourite green amphibians. Director Green keeps things ticking along nicely and it’s great to see Casey Jones added back into the mix thanks to Stephen Amell’s energetic performance, but once the credits roll it won’t be with you much longer.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★
Scott J. Davis is a Senior Staff Writer and Reporter for Flickering Myth. Follow him on Twitter.