From the Archive – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991)

TurtleII

Directed by Michael Pressman
Starring Paige Turco and David Warner

“Cowabunga; it’s the new Turtle movie”

Following their victory over Shredder the Turtles are ‘resting’ in April O’Neill’s (Turco) apartment (she seems to have bought pants since the last time at least). Then Shredder and the Foot Clan return, stealing the last sample of the ooze that created the Turtles and using it to make two monstrous – if endearingly dim – minions. With the aid of the scientist who accidentally created the ooze (Warner), the Turtles demutate the minions, battling them through a club to a Vanilla Ice soundtrack (Go Ninja, Go Ninja, Go!) then tackle a giant, mutated Shredder in the sewers to some kind of conclusion.

What’s wrong with it?

Well, for starters, having left it a week before writing the review, I can’t actually remember very much of the film at all; it were that gripping.

I do recall that the acting was flat, the fight scenes greatly hampered by the Turtle costumes (imagine the Tellytubbies trying to do kung fu) and the plot pretty much non-existent. Then there’s the gratuitous cute, scrappy kid, the terrible Turtle dialogue and the Ninja Turtle Rap. Sheagh!

What’s right with it?

David Warner provides his usual performance as serious person in a silly film with some dignity, and the film has a tiny spark of zany energy, although the Turtlosity was wearing out by this point. The sets – especially the abandoned subway lair – are pretty keen.

How bad is it really?

Bad, no; just not very good.

Best bit?

Shredder preparing to subdue his new minions encourages them to attack him. The giant wolf and snapping turtle run forward, throw their arms around him and cry: “Mama!”

What’s up with…?

  • The scientists just abandoning the ooze that makes things really big? Surely they could sell it to the military even if they didn’t try to use it to solve world hunger, with predictably disastrous results.
  • Vanilla Ice? What is he doing here? Was his career already so far down the crapper that TMNT II seemed like a life-saver? Oh wait; it was.

Ratings:

Production values: Some of the sets are actually really nice and although they hamper the ninjitsu, the turtle suits look okay. However, the snapping turtle and wolf monsters are crappy. 11

Dialogue and performances: Really no-one but David Warner was walking away form this with any dignity. 16

Plot and execution: I have big monsters. Go big monsters; chase the Turtles. Quickly Turtles; fight the big monsters. Ladies and gentlemen; the plot. 17

Randomness: Vanilla Ice. Other than that it all makes sense given that we have four big terrapins as the central characters. 7

Waste of Potential: Considering the mine had already been tapped more than dry by the first film, this one didn’t do too badly. 6

Overall 57%

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