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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows

Genre: Action and Adventure

Director: David Green

Cast: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, Stephen Amell, Tyler Perry, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Alan Ritchson, Brian Tee, Stephen "Sheamus" Farrelly

MPAA-Rating: PG-13

Release Date: June 3rd, 2016

Like its predecessor, more about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is good, light-hearted fun.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is an unabashedly fun and goofy film. Like its 2014 predecessor, this summer flick is a reminder that a few old-fashioned laughs and action-packed sequences can go a long way in offering viewers a entertaining escapist ride.

Directed by Dave Green, who previously helmed the heartwarming Earth to Echo (2014), this feature relies on the characters’ friendly interplay to keep the story moving at a brisk pace. Within moments of the opening, the group of turtles — composed of the mischievous Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), the noble Leonardo (Pete Ploszek), the tech-savvy  Donatello (Jeremy Howard)  and the rebellious Raphael (Alan Ritchson) — are hanging out high above the stands at a New York Knicks game together.

They are pizza-consuming teenagers trying to enjoy the game and it’s refreshing to see how they play off each other in a friendly and affectionate way.

The action starts picking up from there as Shredder (Brian Tee), the intense villain from the original, plans to escape from prison.  With the help of a scientist named Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry, who seems to love hamming it up here), Shredder plans to create an army of super-mutants to take on the turtles. His first two subjects are Rocksteady (Stephen Farrelly) and Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams), two hapless thugs who are all too happy to become the subject of a scientific experiment.

Throughout the newest adventure, the turtles maintain their superb sense of humor and joining them in this outing is the vigilante correctional officer named Casey Jones, played by a hilarious Stephen Amell. Amell, best known for his starring role on television’s The Arrow, provides a great supporting performance here — one that lets him openly mock his own image.

Amell is a serious hero on television but here, he’s the victim of several pranks courtesy of the mischief-loving turtles. It’s great fun to watch him get tricked by the turtles again and again. Amell proves that when given the opportunity, this actor is fully capable of mocking himself. Additionally, a one-liner about Jones’ inability to fill out a t-shirt (he’s muscular but not when compared to  the massively-sized turtles) only adds to the playfulness of this picture.

There are a few elements here that don’t work as well as they should’ve. Brad Garrett is great fun as the voice of Krang, a new villain who joins forces with Shredder, but Krang’s planetary ambitions are given short shrift. Additionally, the climactic battle sequence does go on for a bit longer than necessary (producer Michael Bay is well-known for his larger-than-life set pieces but this one doesn’t compare to the bloated ones that featured prominently in the last few Transformer films)

In an early action sequence, Michelangelo tries out a new weapon and yells uncaringly, “This is awesome.” That sense of fun and excitement pervades Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows and when the story stumbles a bit, the film’s sense of adventure and open goofiness is always palpable. Some might be wanting more from a movie about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles but I had great fun watching this sequel and I’m hoping this series maintains its mischievous  sense of self in the years to come.

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Review by: John Hanlon