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February 14, 2011

Film Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

Title: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze
Director: Michael Pressman
Writer: Todd W. Langen (created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird)
Distributed By: New Line Cinema
Starring: Paige Turco, David Warner, Ernie Reyes Jr., and Kevin Clash
Release Date: March 22nd, 1991

[Make sure you check out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles]

Back by [insert favorite 90s catchphrase] demand, Leonardo (Mark Caso and Brian Tochi as voice), Raphael (Kenn Scott and Laurie Faso as voice), Donatello (Leif Tilden and Adam Carl as voice), and Michelangelo (Michelan Sisti and Robbie Rist as voice) team up once again in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze. Just when it seemed like the Foot Clan had fallen for good, Shredder rises from out of the city’s dump to reclaim his reign of terror. After finding out that Techno Global Research Industries has been creating an ooze that was responsible for the turtles’ mutation, Shredder decides to kidnap scientist Professor Jordan Perry (Dave Warner) and use the potential of the ooze. After the Foot Clan creates two super powerful mutants, Tokka and Rahzar (Mark Ginther and Kurt Bryant with voices by Frank Welker), the turtles must find a way to stop Shredder and his gang once and for all.

In many ways, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is a lot like Batman Forever. It’s less gritty and much more kid friendly (similarly due to parental complaints). It’s sub par to the original film, yet still a major hit. And just like Batman Forever, TMNT II is a decent film and a good one if you just take it as a popcorn flick.

The first thing you need to know about the film, is that it’s a direct sequel in the sense that the events take place right after the first one. Not months or years, but maybe a week or two later. What makes it interesting, is that the events and ending of the first film have a major impact in the sequel. The Foot Clan has dissolved to a handful of members led by Tatsu (Toshishiro Obata and voice by Michael McConnohie). Shredder escapes from the dumpster (surprise surprise…), but is disfigured. The Turtles and Splinter (Kevin Clash) are staying at April O’ Neil’s apartment temporarily after the Foot Clan discovered their sewer in the first film (actually clever writing). And of course, the movie uncovers the secret of the ooze that evolved Splinter and the turtles.

Hmm…this scene looks so familiar….

Unfortunately, this does not correlate to a better plot. On the contrary, the plot is much more simplified. In the first film, you have a string of subplots working well together. You had Danny Pennington and his father (Charles Pennington), April’s carer, Casey Jones, and more. But here, the plot basically boils down to the turtles vs. Shredder and his goons.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Moochers

It also doesn’t help that the dialog is bad here. Not cheesy and silly, like in the first one, where it would make you shake your head but smile at the same time. Here it’s just childish and forced, making it come off too stiff.

I'm sure Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Donatello would like it to stay this way

Even Donatello is ashamed of the "scientific" dialogue

But even if you have bad lines, you can have actors that can sometimes make them believable. Perhaps they could have been pulled off better, but even the acting has taken a slight dip in quality. It doesn’t help that there’s a weaker screenplay and replaced actors. Paige Turco does a decent job as April O’ Neil, but I preferred Judith Hoag’s acting range and her believable friendship with the turtles. The film also has a new teenage sidekick named Keno (Ernie Reyes Jr.). Not too annoying like some other teenage sidekicks, although it wasn’t like he was essential to the story. But what happened to Casey Jones? You know, the guy in the comics, cartoon show, and first film? The guy who was as tough as the turtles themselves. The guy who scored with April O’ Neil in the first film. Elias Koteas reprised his role in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, so I don’t know why they didn’t put him in this film.

April O' Neil raids Jack Napier's closet

Speaking of new characters, there’s also Tokka and Rahzar. To anyone who knows the show or the games, the first thought that springs to mind is Rocksteady and Bebop, since they’re mutated creatures (albeit very different ones). I don’t know why they didn’t just put Rocksteady and Bebop into the film. After all, half of the reason why fans go to see the adaptations is to see their favorite characters put on the big screen. But at least they were interesting new characters. And I do admit that it was a funny concept to have them be dimwitted creatures who mistake Shredder for their mother.

MAMA!

If there’s one thing that has improved since the first film, it’s the puppetry and special effects. With the first film’s puppetry, the lip syncing was way off, but in TMNT II the syncing is pretty close to being spot on. Also, the turtles’ animations and textures were much more fluid, especially during the fight scenes (which were decent but not as good as the first film). Although I was bummed out that they didn’t have the gritty and urban 90s style of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, at least they put the time and effort into the sequel’s costumes and sets.

Go Ninja! Go Ninja! Go!

It might sound like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is nothing more than an abysmal sellout film, all flash and no class. But it still has the elements that made the first film good. It has the action, turtles, pizza, and news babe. It’s just that there are more flaws in this film, and a lot of what made the first one great has been watered down in order to please concerned parents. Still, if you can get past its childishness, you might be able to find TMNT II as a half-way bodacious film.

Andy Liegl's long lost uncle makes a cameo here.

Andrew Hudson
ahudson@comicattack.net
@Hudsonian

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11 Comments



  1. This was JUST on about two days ago and after I watched it again I still didn’t like it. Even when I try to take it lightly. And who decided that Vanilla Ice needed to be in the movie for any reason?

    I was disappointed that Ernie Reyes Jr. wasn’t doing the fight scenes IN the Donatello costume like he did in the first film only because I’d rather see the kid (then) fight than act. He’s a damn good martial artist on and off the screen.


  2. Billy

    This movie should be banned. What a steaming pile… 😀



  3. I freakin’ LOVE this movie!!



  4. …and that IS my cousin! You’ve found him!!



  5. @Andy you would love this movie.


  6. Andrew Hudson

    For realz Andy (as far as the cousin part goes)?



  7. Billy and I seem to be in the ‘thumbs down’ club! 🙂



  8. This movie is a piece of my childhood. Everything from Kevin Nash as Super Shredder to the Ninja Rap, it was all amazing. Love this movie!



  9. […] gotten the ball rolling with the first two live action movies Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of The Ooze. So without further ado, let’s get into this Comic Attack team […]



  10. […] sure you check out Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Also make sure you check out Nick Z's awesome reviews of  […]



  11. […] who am I kidding? Just thinking about that song makes me want to watch TMNT II right […]



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