Howdy people of the north, south, east and west, and welcome to Day #2 of Month of Superhero Film Reviews 2! During this month I’ll be reviewing of some of the best, average and worst comic book adapted films. Since I reviewed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles yesterday, I thought I might as well continue with this film series with the 1991 sequel, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze.
So after the success of the first TMNT film, making a sequel had to be done right? But I guess certain changes to the tone, story and characters resulted in a not so impressive sequel. Now this is one of those kind of films I feel like I had seen already due to the reviews I’ve watched only (especially when it comes to James Rolfe’s reviews), but it is still to this day one that I have never properly sat down and watched for myself, I had to check it out just to see what it was like.
The story can be summed up as the following:
“The Turtles and the Shredder battle once again, this time for the last canister of the ooze that created the Turtles, which Shredder wants to create an army of new mutants.”
The story in this film was decent. I feel like Secret of the Ooze did certain things better than the last film when it comes to the characterisation and fun tone of the animated series, but overall this film doesn’t have that same level of quality that came with the last adventure. This is a tale of revenge and learning about the one’s history, and I feel like those aspects were handled pretty well. I liked the relationship between the Turtles and Splinter as it really emphasized the student-mentor relationship and made Splinter come across as more of an authoritative and father-like figure. There’s also a lot of pop culture references too, some of it works and others are a little too much. And like the last film this one is full of humour and is pretty cheesy, however, this time around the cheese factor is amped up by like one hundred. I guess because of the complaints about the violence and dark tone in the previous film, this film took the lighter approach and that’s why a lot of the humour feels like it was aimed at children, but overall it feels dumbed down, not so accessible to adults and leads to some truly illogical and random situations that feel like something off of Looney Tunes or Tom & Jerry, and it didn’t always work. OH and I couldn’t do this review without talking about the infamous club scene featuring Vanilla Ice, that sequence of action, dancing and music is just the most bizarre and incredibly strange moments in any film I’ve ever seen, but sure enough it is pretty entertaining and humourous.
Now let’s talk about the cast. Paige Turco as April O’Neil was pretty good. Imagine my surprise to see Paige Turco from The 100 here in her youth, that took me a few minutes to process, but anyways besides being really pretty, she made for a decent replacement for Judith Hoag offering a similar take on the character, but just not as feisty. David Warner was also good as Professor Jordan Perry, I thought that Warner’s performance was very convincing as a scientist and the man had a good level of charm, charisma and humour as well. Ernie Reyes, Jr. did a good job as Keno, despite being just a pizza delivery boy, he gets a lot of screen time for action and having interacts with the Turtles, April, Splinter and the Foot Clan too. Since there are a few too many people to mention when it comes to the Turtles in-suit performers and voice, I will just say that I thought that besides their super cheesiness, they are fairly entertaining with my favourites definitely being Leonardo and Raphael. Kevin Clash does a really good job voicing as Splinter and David McCharen does a decent job voicing Shredder.
Now let’s talk about the presentation. Visually the film’s nice and the practical effects on the Turtles, Splinter and the two other monsters is pretty good, though it doesn’t look as detailed or cool as it did before. When it comes to the action scenes they were okay overall but really were a step down from the last film, having the Turtles barely use their weapons was horrible (Michelangelo never even used his nunchaku once, tragic) and the overall fight scenes were more comical than badass with their only being a handful of good Turtle attacks, really the best fighter was Keno, that kid was awesome and put the Turtles to shame. As for the soundtrack, John Du Prez returns to compose and once again does a good job with the music making it energetic, fun and dramatic when needed, I also like how he kept the Turtles theme intact for this film as it is pretty fun.
And lastly how does it compare to the comics? As I said in the last review, I’m not a hardcore TMNT fan, but from what I understand this film kept most of the elements of the source material intact like the main characters. But the only major difference I noticed was with Tokka and Rahzar, those two were clearly some sort of substitution for Bebop and Rocksteady.
So to conclude Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze is certainly a lot sillier and lighter in nature when compared to prequel, but this film still has a lot of fun, humour and that cool TMNT style that makes these types of films worth watching. I would say that this is one of those films that can only be enjoyed by hardcore fans and those who like its nostalgic factor.
Rating: 6.5/10 (A step down, but still pretty good)
So 2 reviews done, only 28 more to go. So have you seen Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze and if so what are your thoughts on it? Drop me a comment and let me know your thoughts yo! Come back tomorrow and I’ll have a new film review online, until then peace out!