Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
DVD Double Pack

Starring: Francois Chau, Paige Turco, David Warner & Ernie Reyes Jr.
20th Century Fox

RRP: £19.99

Certificate: PG
Available now

A company called TGI is disposing of a toxic chemical substance in a cleanup programme. The last canister is stolen by Turtles nemesis Shredder (sporting a rather fetching circular saw hat), who has miraculously survived their last encounter. He creates two creatures to take on the Turtles, using the same ooze that accidentally mutated our heroes. Chaos ensues as the Turtles, guided by their master Splinter, a mutant rat, take on the bad guys in a bid to explain their own origins...

Surprisingly Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze was a lot less painful to watch than the Power Rangers twin pack DVD also released by Fox this month. There's the same wisecracking, arse-kicking display, but at least the main characters are individuals and possess their own nuances. Nobody can stay serious for more than two minutes, and those that try ham it up terribly. I suppose any attempt to make a thought-provoking plot is immediately shot down in flames when four plastic-coated bandanna-wearing turtles leap into the scene. Even Yoda didn't get away with it in Attack of the Clones.

I have to give credit where it's due. The fight scenes are pretty well choreographed, but you can just hear the sound of true Ninjas from the ancient past turning in their graves. The one-liners, of which there are plenty, range wildly from the genuinely amusing to the outright cringe-worthy. It's just unfortunate that all but the tiniest percentage fall into the latter category. There's a monumental chasm between being funny and being silly; the Turtles, despite their martial arts, never manage to leap the gap.

The second disc in the collection sees Michaelagelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo return when friend April picks up a lamp standard from a junk shop only to discover it is a time link to the ancient past. April disappears, leaving a confused Japanese warrior in her place, so the Turtles must utilise the lamp to travel to the Japan of the 1600s in a bid to get her back. But an Englishman has aspirations regarding the lamp, the only link to their own time...

The training/dancing scene to ZZ Top at the beginning of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III gave me high aspirations. This sequel borrows heavily from Shogun. The costumes are fantastic, the settings beautiful, the acting pretty good... and then there's the Turtles! If this film had been played straight or parodied the genre, it would have perhaps turned out one-hundred percent better. However, it does neither one nor the other, instead opting to scuttle about somewhere in between. The Turtle speech is straight out of the Bill and Ted films, with "Awesome!" and "Dudes!" all over the place. Bill and Ted pulled it off, the Turtles don't.

These films, part of a huge fad a few years back, will still be entertaining to young children now. Anyone over the age of 10 will probably want to fall into that metaphorical hole in the ground five minutes in. Reviewing this package was like a visit to the dentist: I put it off for as long as was feasible, but finally had to submit and agree to be put out of my misery. One phrase sums up these movies: Cowabunga!! Does that mean bad?

Ty Power

Buy this item online
We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal!
(Please note all prices exclude P&P - although Streets Online charge a flat £1 fee regardless of the number of items ordered). Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£16.99 (Amazon.co.uk)
£19.99 (Blackstar.co.uk)

£16.99 (Streetsonline.co.uk)

All prices correct at time of going to press.