********* 6 out of 10 *********
Director: Dave Green
Actors: Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Meg Ryan, Stephen Amell
If you are a hardcore fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of the old, and want them to be featured in a truly meaningful movie that has depth and dimension, then you shouldn’t be walking in a theatre screening Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. For this movie offers hardly any depth or dimension. It has been made in the mould of 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and even though the directorial duties have passed on from Jonathan Liebesman to Dave Green, the stamp of Michael Bay (producer) is clearly visible on both the movies. The sequel is fast, action-packed, explosive, even while making little sense, and if you can tuck in comfortably with a bucket of popcorn, you might allow yourself to have fun watching it.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows brings back the old foe of the Turtles – The Shredder – who was captured in the first movie and is to be transferred to a new prison in New York. No points in guessing what will happen during this transfer. Using the expertise of a scientist Baxter Stockman, the Foot Clan work on rescuing Shredder which the Turtles need to thwart. But the story written by Josh Appelbaum and André Nemec is all over the place once Shredder escapes and ends up in some alien place. There is a portal involved, an attempt to take over Planet Earth, and some lost pieces of an alien entity that need to be discovered, making it a terrible mixture of Indiana Jones (to a lesser degree) and Transformers (especially the third one, to a higher degree).
Give credit to the makers of the film though, they never allow you to dwell on the story too much. If you try, you are wasting your time. The movie zips at an amazing pace, as one problem after the other keeps coming at the Turtles, either external or even internal as they struggle to come to terms with their alienation from the human world. What we get then is a bundle of energy, which has a silly plot, but is still enjoyable because of the changing scenery, the special effects, and a good tempo to keep things moving forward. There is less time for emotions, more time for action as things boil down to a very exciting climax. Director Dave Green takes a cue from Michael Bay’s Transformers series and keeps the camera moving, zooming in and out from all directions, which adds to the intensity of the action sequences. The 3D work is really good, and this one should definitely be seen in that format.
While there was criticism on how the Turtles were represented in the first movie, you do come to love them this time round. Actors Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher and Jeremy Howard have given the voices for Leonardo, Raphael, Michaelangelo and Donatello, and they do a fantastic job at that. The Turtles have more distinct personalities in the sequel which makes them more relatable on screen. Stephen Amell (known from the TV series Arrow) does a fairly good job as the police officer Casey Jones. He has a pleasing personality and is efficient in his action sequences which allows him to make an impression in the movie. The rest of the cast is fairly passable. Megan Fox as April O’Neill is left with very little to do in this movie as compared to the previous one, and even though she isn’t one of the best actresses to have on-screen, she isn’t one of the worst either. For the role of Shredder, Brian Tee replaces Tohoru Masamune, but has not much to do apart from stare coldly and say a few lines now and then. Tyler Perry plays Dr. Stockman though seems to have been put-off by his suspender pants. Laura Linney is quite ineffective as the Chief of the investigation after Shredder escapes. Gary Anthony Williams and Stephen Farrelly do make a fool of themselves as Bebop and Rocksteady, the bad guys who work with Shredder, but since that is what their roles were meant to be, they would claim they did their bit effectively. And we see and hear a lot less from Master Splinter which is disappointing.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows isn’t a better version of the previous one. Nor does it try to be. In fact, it is exactly what the 2014 flick was also supposed to be. Action-packed at a quick pace that will keep you hooked while the movie is running but once it ends, you would have forgotten all about it. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, right? Not if you are a hardcore fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of the old, and want them to be featured in a truly meaningful movie that has depth and dimension…