Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Leo (left), Donnie (center-left), Raph (center-right) and Mikey (right) are New York’s guardians against evil in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

New York City is overrun by a shadowy criminal organization called the Foot Clan and city politicians and law-enforcement officials are powerless to stop them.

Intrepid reporter April O’Neill, played by Megan Fox (“Transformers,” “Jennifer’s Body”), has been working the streets of Manhattan, trying to find any legitimate lead to uncover the true intentions of the Foot Clan and one night she discovers that even though the city is helpless to stop the Foot, someone out there is doing something about the situation.

After witnessing a Foot Clan attack in the subway, April discovers a small unit skilled enough to bring the clan of warriors down and after following them back to a rooftop, she makes a startling discovery: four six feet, walking, talking turtles skilled in martial arts.

Leonardo, played by Pete Ploszek and voiced by Johnny Knoxville (“Jackass”), Donatello, played by Jeremy Howard (“Sydney White”), Michaelangelo, played by Noel Fisher (“Max Keeble’s Big Move”) and Raphael, played by Alan Ritchson (“The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”) are the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” brothers who were raised in the sewers of New York City who studied the secrets of ninjitsu under their rat sensei Splinter, played by Danny Woodburn (“Bad-Ass”) and voiced by Tony Shalhoub (“Made-Up”) after surviving an experiment gone wrong 15 years ago.

We were created as weapons, and we knew the world would never accept us… but one day, it would need us.-Johnny Knoxville as the voice of Leonardo

April shares a unique connection with the family of sewer dwellers, because April’s father and Eric Sachs, played by William Fichtner (“The Lone Ranger”) conducted experiments on the turtles and Splinter using a mutagen that was believed to be capable or eradicating disease, but unfortunately their research was lost because the Shredder, the leader of the Foot Clan tried to hoard their findings but ended up destroying everything in a fire. April saved the turtles and Splinter when she was a little girl.

The Shredder aims to conquer New York in “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”

When April tells Sachs about her discovery of the turtles, Sachs informs the Shredder and receives the order to find them and retrieve the mutagen that flows through their veins. That mutagen is the key to the Shredder’s plans of destroying New York City once and for all.

Leo, Mikey, Donnie, Raph, April and her cameraman Vern Fenwick, played by Will Arnett (“The Lego Movie”), are New York City’s last line of defense.

Director Jonathan Liebesman (“Wrath of the Titans”) tries his hardest to make this live-action adaptation as fun as it can be, but ultimately it is a movie that proves itself to be a fun way to waste valuable time.

This project was doomed for failure since the beginning and while it has some redeeming qualities, it suffers from its own reckless and pointless need to be so over-the-top, ridiculous, blurry and shoddy that it can’t take itself seriously and fans of the now 30 year old franchise can easily point that out.

The redeeming qualities that this film features lies in the screenplay written by André Nemec, Josh Applebaum (“Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol”) and Kevin Eastman, who was one of the co-creators of the Turtles. They created a story that connects April and the main characters and the Shredder quite tangibly and it is a nice backbone for the plot, but that is where it ends.

This movie is as advertised, featuring cheesy visual-effects, sloppy camerawork, weak characters, weak acting and it is essentially a let-down across the board.

The film also uses actors such as Whoopi Goldberg (“Sister Act”) and Minae Koji as disposable props; they are in there for a few minutes and never from again.

The action sequences are blurry and completely outrageous to the point its incredibly senseless.

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” has a surprise or two under the shell, but the film falls flat for the elements that constitute it end up working against it.

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