So far this year we’ve had Batman, Superman and a whole load of X-Men and now it’s time for the animals themselves to get a look in with, ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows’ or TMNT2. It’s hard to believe that it was over 25 years ago that the lethal reptiles first had a live action film with a bunch of actors jigging around in rubber costumes and making a fortune and quickly filming two further sequels with the law of ever diminishing returns meaning each made less than the last as audiences quickly tired of them.
It’s Michael Bay we have to thank, or blame depending on your point of view, for bringing them back in 2014 in a film that incredibly made $493m worldwide and guaranteed a follow up which, two years later, we now have .
With the characters established the filmmakers have started to open it out a bit especially now their arch enemy, Shredder, is imprisoned only to be freed by his gang along with 2 knuckle headed villains, Bebop and Rock Steady, (played by Stephen Farelly credited here as Sheamus and Gary Anthony Williams) as they’re ineptly conveyed to a maximum security prison by Casey Jones (Stephen Amell) who then decides he wants to be a detective. Shredder now starts an allegiance with extraterrestrial villain, Kraang, an enormous lump of talking bubble gum who wants to destroy the world – isn’t it always the case? – quite why these aliens never set their aim on something more achievable such as finding the secret ingredient for Coca Cola is never made clear.
So aided by Rock Steady and Bebop, who have now been transformed into hybrid heavy weights that look like the illicit congress between a man, a rhino and a warthog, they set about putting the plan into action with only the four turtles, who have kept a low profile since they last saved the world.
The original trilogy of films from the 90’s were very much restricted by its actors rubber suits but CGI has enabled the reboot of the franchise to ramp up the action to the max which it does with gleeful delight and, much like the first films snowy mountain ski sequence, its best moment is the turtles hijacking a plane full of ninjas. It’s this CGI which ultimately completely overtakes the film by the climax where little if anything is real and though children will undoubtedly be in awe of the action for adults it does suffer from what can best be described as, ‘The Phantom Menace’ effect.
As might be expected the turtles are to the front and fore but its main villain, Shredder, is very much kept in the background with Bebop and Rock Steady, who are entertainingly daft, seemingly more of an attraction for the film makers than the solemn faced shenanigans of Shredder. Stephen Amell as Jones is adequate and Megan Fox, as in just about everything she’s ever done, acts about as well as anyone can who is called upon to wear a skimpy vest and tight fitting jeans. In fact at the very start of the film she changes out of a suit into a mini skirted, crop topped affair as she walks through a mall – a scene which seems to have little purpose other than to make Dads glad their sons dragged them along to see the film. Tyler Perry as the scientist who colludes with Shredder looks like a slimmed down Eddie Murphy in ‘The Nutty Professor’ and this seems to be a bit of a retrogressive step after his turn in ’Gone Girl’. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the appearance of Laura Linney, an actress who has appeared in such films as ‘Mystic River’, ‘The Truman Show‘ & ‘Love Actually’ now seems to be doing films such as this and gives it a certain degree of gravitas you wouldn’t readily expect.
Rife with product placement and as brash as you might expect this is probably ideal half term entertainment for boys though don’t be surprised if the kids start karate chopping one another within 10 minutes of the film finishing.
You can see footage of a display put on by a bunch of nunchukka wielding kids at the premiere if you subscribe to our YouTube channel…
Here’s the trailer: