Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – Review

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High on the list of sequels no one asked for, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is also part of the Michael Bay franchise of reboots no one wanted either. Given how low the bar is set then, Out of the Shadows actually excels as a competently made blockbuster with some family-orientated fun that only occasionally lets itself down. Admittedly, that’s not the most glowing of recommendations, and it’s not meant to be, but this is at least a sequel that bests the original in every category.

a competently made blockbuster with some family-orientated fun that only occasionally lets itself down

The Ninja Turtle brothers are enjoying their time as the secret saviours of New York City. Although tensions still exist between the headstrong Raphael and leader Leonardo, the crime-fighters are doing a fine job in keeping the streets safe. They are no doubt helped by the fact that their nemesis Shredder is currently in police custody and awaiting transportation to a high security facility. Inevitably there is a plan of escape, which is assisted by two hardened criminals by the name of Rocksteady and Beebop. Police officer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) tries to stop Shredder, but is thwarted when the villain is teleported to an alien dimension. There he meets Krang, a manipulative being with his own plans to invade Earth.

Meanwhile the Turtles look for the assistance of April (Megan Fox) and Vern Fenwick (Will Forte), but also find help in the form of Jones, who is now a vigilante working for himself. As the awesome foursome fall apart due to internal frictions, Shredder enlists Rocksteady and Beebop, turning them into animalistic mutants. Krang too has his own devious plan set in motion, but is there anyone left to stop him?

Out of the Shadows is fairly formulaic, but has a surprisingly entertaining tone throughout. It’s pitched just right with enough comedy and action to appeal to pretty much everyone.

Out of the Shadows has enough comedy and action to appeal to pretty much everyone

The special effects, which were convincing last time around, are even better here. The CG turtles are animated in a believable manner and their interactions with the various human characters are expertly handled. Kudos to the two new members of the cast, Laura Linney and Arrow’s Stephen Amell who make an impressive law-enforcing duo.

When the film fails though, it does so spectacularly.

There is a scene early on, where we first see Megan Fox as April O’Neil, that is cringe-inducing. The once intrepid reporter is now some sort of low level investigator who uses a series of skimpy outfits to get information. As if the “sexy secretary” guise wasn’t salacious enough for the producers, or at least what the producers assume teenage viewers want to see, Fox then inexplicably changes into a revealing school girl uniform. Oh, and she does this by stealing all the different elements needed for such an outfit. Shoplifting and casual misogyny are given the thumbs up. This low point arrives early in proceedings, and is thankfully not a sign of things to come.

The mountainside chase from the first film has been trumped by a airborne sequence that, once again, has a deliciously inventive twist.

There’s a nod to Vanilla Ice, who featured in the earlier version of the franchise, and the hits keep on coming with Tyler Perry playing an evil comedy side-kick, and managing to garner more laughs than he does in a dozen godawful Madea movies.

With Will Forte and Michaelangelo regularly playing for laughs, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows will keep you entertained for its short run time. Turtles 2 is up there with Empire Strikes Back and Terminator: Judgement Day as a sequel that is better than the first film.

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About Cassam Looch

Cassam Looch has been watching films ever since his first trip to the cinema to catch Care Bears: The Movie and writing about them after a traumatic incident involving Moonwalker. If he's not hassling celebrities on the red carpet, he'll usually be found in the darkened screening rooms of Soho.

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