"TMNT: Out of the Shadows" Review
Less than two years after producer Michael Bay brought the Heroes in a Half-Shell back to the big screen with a blockbuster reboot, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are ready to come “Out of the Shadows”.
Unlike with the original, in which we had to wait more than 20 minutes for the first appearance of Leonardo, Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo, “TMNT: Out of the Shadows” begins with a sequence involving the Turtles - front and center - and at center court at Madison Square Garden. It’s been a year since they saved NYC from the evil Shredder, but because they’re giant talking turtles that the public will fear and not embrace, that credit has been given to TV news cameraman Vernon (played again by Will Arnett) - who’s enjoying his celebrity status.
News reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox is also back) informs the Turtles that mad scientist Baxter Stockman (played by Tyler Perry, yes - Madea herself - or ‘himself’) is working on a plan involving Shredder, including breaking him out of prison. Soon the Turtles are facing Shredder’s wrath for the second time, along with two new henchmen: a giant mutant warthog and rhino, and an even greater foe who threatens to destroy the entire planet.
“Out of the Shadows” is a hit-and-miss sequel. Like the first film, the action scenes are well-executed, though the extensive finale is mindless and bloated. There are some clever moments in the script involving the Turtles, especially early on. But - as is the case in many second installments when the core team threatens to splinter over a disagreement - there’s an obvious lack of Turtle Power here. The energy falls-off when the four brothers aren’t all on screen, working together.
Once again Fox and Arnett seem like they’re having a lot of fun. And Perry gets the change of pace in the wardrobe and character department he must have been looking for by taking this role. But I do feel bad for Laura Linney. The respected actress is embarrassingly out of place as the no-nonsense NYC Police Chief.
There’s enough here - barely - to have a good time, but at a tad under two hours, “Out of the Shadows” is overstuffed and rather ordinary, something that should never be said about a movie involving large, crime-fighting reptiles.