The 2014 Ninja Turtles cinema reboot was a passable exercise in jokey, simple-minded action and gen x nostalgia but not a film that left audiences salivating for a sequel. Still, the bean counters saw a buck in a second film and now we have Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows. Whatever retro fun or winking, self-referential amusement the first film might have had has been lost amid the mind-numbing headache-inducing clutter and juvenility of the sequel.

The latest instalment of the turtle saga sees the nefarious Shredder (Brian Tee), escape prison and join with a villainous and slimy alien for what else but world domination. Humanity’s only hope in the face of this threat is the quartet of pizza gobbling, nunchaku-twirling turtles Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard), Leonardo (Pete Ploszek) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson). Unfortunately, turtle solidarity and their willingness to save the earth are being increasingly undermined by their dissatisfaction with having to live as outcasts in the sewer.

With its clumsy exposition this film has no momentum and just seems to stumble from one CGI-drenched action set piece to another. This might be acceptable if the action was visceral and exciting but director Dave Green has adopted the ridiculous swirling incomprehensible visual style of Michael Bay’s horrendous Transformers movies for the action scenes. Admittedly, the turtles themselves are an impressive achievement in computer generation as they do look like creatures in actual physical space.

The film is meant to be comical but apart from a few moments of malevolent hubris from Will Arnett – who once again plays Vernon Fenwick the news cameraman turned fake hero – it is totally unfunny. Much of the humour is embarrassingly infantile, especially when newly-created mutants warthog man Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and rhinoceros man Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) are on screen. These two characters were a lot funnier and cleverer in the ultra-cheap Turtles cartoons from the early 1990’s.

Megan Fox returns as intrepid TV reporter April O’Neill and once again acquits herself reasonably well given the ludicrous nature of the role. Of course, the filmmakers manage to engineer a scene in which she struts around in miniscule clothing which seems a bit odd and even creepy in what is essentially a kids’ film. Tyler Perry also turns up in this film and makes very little impact as a scientist with more than a touch of Neil De Grasse Tyson. Bizarrely, the very credible Laura Linney appears in this movie. Exactly what compelled an actress of her stature to agree to a role in which she appears beside giant cgi turtles boggles the mind.

This film may contain pleasures only apparent to hard-core Turtle obsessives but for the casual viewer this is a painful, lumbering bore.

Nick’s rating: *1/2.

Genre: Action/ Science Fiction.

Classification: PG.

Director(s): Dave Green.

Release date: 9th June 2016.

Running time: 112 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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