Sunday, July 03, 2016

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 - an overshadowed attempt

movie review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Starring: Megan Fox, Stephen Amell, Will Arnett, Brian Tee, Tyler Perry, Brittany Ishibashi, Laura Linney, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Tony Shalhoub, Brad Garrett
Director: Dave Green
Tagline: Raise some shell.

Michael Bay’s name has become synonymous with big action blockbusters that are best enjoyed by lowering your cinematic expectations and turning off your brain. And even though he only serves as a producer and not director on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles films, his imprint is still visible on the series and becomes even more palpable in the latest Turtles instalment, Out of the Shadows.

The sequel to 2014’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles finds its pizza-loving protagonists – brothers Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), Raphael (Alan Ritchson), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), and Donatello (Jeremy Howard) – on yet another quest to save the world from the evil plans of the nefarious Shredder (Brian Tee).

After April O’Neil (Megan Fox) discovers that scientist Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) is working with the Foot Clan and planning to break Shredder out of police custody, she alerts the Turtles of the impending attack on the villain’s convoy. But despite the Turtles efforts to stop him, Shredder manages to escape – along with two criminals, Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus) – with the help of a teleportation device. He is transported to another dimension where alien warlord Krang (Brad Garrett) recruits him for a mission, asking him to retrieve three pieces of a device that will open a portal through which the extraterrestrial supervillain will be able to send his war machine to Earth.

It is, obviously, up to the Turtles to stop them and save the world, and viewers are never left in any doubt as to who will emerge victorious in the end. There are no surprises in store for cinemagoers, as Out of the Shadows sticks to the predictable course. It’s silly, loud, nonsensical, but occasionally it’s still marginally fun, primarily because it doesn’t take itself seriously and never pretends to be anything more than a popcorn flick.

Director Dave Green doesn’t bring anything unique or distinctive to the project. The writing is pedestrian, the plot lazy, and the villains cartoonish. As for the cast, Megan Fox continues to be eye candy; Stephen Amell’s debut as Casey Jones isn’t particularly interesting; and Laura Linney – three-time Academy Award nominee Laura Linney! – who plays the police chief just confuses you with her presence, leaving you wondering why she chose to be in this movie.

Out of the Shadows basically caters to younger viewers who enjoy mindless action and silly humour and older viewers who have a nostalgic connection with the franchise and fondly remember the Turtles animated television series from their own childhood. There isn’t any artistic merit or cinematic value on offer here. On the whole, despite some impressive special effects, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ latest adventure is thoroughly ridiculous, occasionally enjoyable, and, ultimately, completely unmemorable.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

- By Sameen Amer

The Express Tribune *

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