Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Movie Review

After the exercise in diminishing returns that was the Transformers franchise (I admit that the first film was a strong start), Michael Bay turns his attention to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. What could go wrong?

Well, lots could go wrong and a lot does. The film is an exercise in groan-inducing predictability right up to the casting of Megan Fox as April O’Neil and its clear influences from Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins to Bay’s own Transformer films.

Formally the ‘director’ is Jonathan Liebesman (Wrath of the Titans, Battle Los Angeles), Bay is credited as ‘producer’ but his fingerprints are all over it. This includes his usual teenage adolescent farts and giggles humour, banal dialogue and a wall to wall soundtrack assault which threatens to bow the silver screen out sideways. The cacophony is initially overwhelming but quickly becomes underwhelming as your eyes glaze over and your ears deafen.

With this latest TMNT flick, Bay has presented us with mostly repulsive heroes that are grubby, ugly, tough-talking, muscle-bound smartarses imbued with gangsta attitudes that are very unappealing indeed. Splinter is equally unappealing with his craggy features and raggy facial hair. Given that the rodent sensei learned all he knew about martial arts from a ninja picture book, it’s no surprise that our heroes in half shells get their tails so easily kicked by a highly upgraded, transformertised Shredder who really does know his Kung Fu. This furthermore makes the turtles’ eventual victory over their nemesis (as they must, of course) all the more unbelievable.

There is quite an exciting chase sequence, however, down a snow-covered mountain in a semi-trailer but beyond this, there is little to commend the film. Teenage Mutant Gangsta Turtles is big, dumb but barely fun and is the height of peurile Michael Bay tosh. Sadly, the sequel is already in pre-production.

Stuart Jamieson