Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows review – Heroes in a half-baked shell

With a talking rhino from Cabra, this film is much more aware than Warcraft of its own ridiculousness

Film Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Director: Dave Green

Starring: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Laura Linney

Genre: Action

Running Time: 112 min

Thu, Jun 2, 2016, 12:05

   

It’s all about portals this week. Over at Warcraft: The Beginning the great gate is sending orcs to attack largely blameless humans. The second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles uses its passageway – after a lengthy construction period – to invite aliens back to New York. Only the Teenage Turtles (actually, I make them in their late 40s now) and Megan Fox (who still exists) can save the city from annihilation.

It doesn’t make much sense, but TMNT2 is significantly more lucid and more aware of its own ridiculousness than the Warcraft film. Heck, this is a flick with a talking rhino from Cabra (top wrestler Sheamus). You don’t get that with Marvel.

What sort of sequel will it be? Will it be a walkthrough of familiar material in the style of The Godfather Part II? Will it use different characters to explore similar themes in the manner of Ingmar Bergman’s Faith trilogy?

I’m yanking your chain, dude. Dave Green’s film throws the characters into mayhem in the opening scenes and then leans heavily enough on the pedal to (almost) push it comfortably past the unnecessarily long 112 minutes.

The presence of Laura Linney and the likable Stephen Amell – best known for the TV series Green Arrow – in the cast indicates that the team are taking the film just a little bit upmarket (just a little, mind).

Producer Michael Bay commissions special effects that, in their bombast and volume, bear comparison with his Transformers films. Now that doesn’t even sound like damning with faint praise (damning with further criticism, perhaps), but the film does have a stupid energy that allows the time to pass with greater ease than such a big, lumbering beast deserves.

We may be biased, but the highlight is surely Sheamus’s turn as half-rhino, half-human bro Rocksteady. He’s mad, he’s funny and – his family will be happy to hear – very well spoken.