Film Review by Clayton Barnett
Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael return to theaters this summer to battle bigger, badder villains, alongside April O’Neil (Megan Fox), Vern Fenwick (Will Arnett), and a newcomer: the hockey-masked vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). After supervillain Shredder escapes custody, he joins forces with mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) and two dimwitted henchmen, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE Superstar Stephen “Sheamus” Farrelly), to unleash a diabolical plan to take over the world. As the Turtles prepare to take on Shredder and his new crew, they find themselves facing an even greater evil with similar intentions: the notorious Krang.
Our heroes in half shell are back for more blockbuster entertainment that’ll please the hatchlings but may leave the parents pulling their head in.
The critically mauled first installment was a surprise hit for Paramount, earning half-a-billion US dollars worldwide. I gave it a miss at the cinema but caught it on Blu-ray, and with zero expectations I was reasonably entertained on a rainy afternoon. The sequel has already taken a worse drubbing but it’s totally critic proof – it will inhale cash thanks to the fan base of 30-somethings nostalgic for the 80’s cartoons (and 90’s films), plus their offspring raised on the Nickelodeon reboot.
Hell my nostalgia levels were through the roof once I saw the kick-ass trailer featuring Bebop and Rocksteady and the allmighty Kraang. But like the first instalment the less expectations you go in with this the better.
Michael Bay might only have the producer credit, but man does music video director Dave Green (on only his second feature) do a damn good Bay impression. There’s plenty of dutch tilts, lens flares, patriotism (here it’s I love NY to death), helicopters, and of course epic explosions.
Which is all to be expected, and for the 10-year-old in all of us pumped up on sugar it’s pretty thrilling stuff – in 3-D the plane jumping sequence alone will be awesome. But the script - from the duo of Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec (Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol) - explains every step so blatantly if you have mistakenly taken your brain in you please drop it back at the door.
Though they have learnt some lessons from the first, the turtles were missing from half of it and it was more the April O’Neil show. This time the brothers are front and centre and are the best thing about the movie – they look awesome and their dynamics provide the laughs and heart. Equally animated are Bebop and Rocksteady in their first live-action feature, and the young ones in the audience loved the juvenile pair. Their human counterparts mostly phone it in, though it’s good to see Stephen Amell doing something else apart from firing off arrows.
You can bag the over-the-top Bayhem or the numerous plot holes, but if you’re under 12 this will be a sugar-fueled blockbuster rush to remember. And when I was a kid that’s all I asked for from my heroes in half shell.
Releases: 2nd June 2016
Rating: PG – Contains violence and scary scenes
Duration: 112 minutes
Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Tyler Perry
Director: Dave Green (Earth to Echo)
The sequel was announced two days after Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was released.
Judith Hoag, who has a cameo role in this film, had played April O'Neil in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990). She had also appeared in the Michael Bay film Armageddon (1998).
A car bears the license plate "Mirage84". The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first appeared in Mirage Comics in 1984.
Stephen Amell compared his role of Casey Jones to his role as Oliver Queen in Arrow (2012): "Casey Jones is almost a little bit more like the Oliver Queen that people know from the older comic books."
Casey Jones's equipment is taken from his appearance in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012): hockey pucks, roller skates and an Eastman hockey stick (the name on the stick is a tribute to "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" creator Kevin Eastman).
Splinter wears a brown robe in this film, in a homage to his brown robe in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990).