View Full Version : TMNT: The old live-action movies

El Chuxter
04-03-2007, 10:35 AM

I say that in a totally different sense from how I discussed the new TMNT in the other thread (http://forums.sirstevesguide.com/showthread.php?t=32137).

I re-watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Tuesday. I remembered it as a really good movie.

It was downright painful to watch this, especially after seeing the Turtles done right on the big screen.

Elias Koteas was great as Casey Jones. And the animatronic costumes were, actually, quite well done. And we can't forget the great "I made a funny!" line. And that's about where the "good" ends.

April: Far too much the "damsel in distress." It gets really old really quickly. The actress wasn't especially good (and that goes double for her replacement in the other two films), and you don't really care about the character. You want the Foot Ninjas to whoop her butt.

But those crazy Foot Ninjas. Dude, these aren't ninjas. These are pathetic. A bunch of rather clean-cut white boys join this gang where they get to play video games all day and somehow graduate to wearing black pajamas, at which point they suddenly talk like the worst WWII-era anti-Japanese propaganda you can imagine. Seriously, in the subway (oddly vacant, except for April, of course): "We hahve ah mahssahge to deriver, Miss O'Neirr." No way in hell could they get away with that today.

There are only two Foot Ninjas who seem to be Japanese, much less actual ninjas. And, unfortunately, they're both set up to be menacing figures, and go out worse than Boba Fett. One whap from a dude with a hockey stick is more than enough to put Tatsu totally out of commission, and Shredder's final battle with the Turtles is so anticlimactic that it should result in an immediate refund to the viewer. The guy can take out the Turtles with no problem, but simply stands there while they discuss strategy, and then is totally whipped not by Splinter, but by his hatred for Splinter. And for what? Scarring his face? Whoop-dee-freakin'-doo.

But this one is, at least, watchable. It's not good by any stretch of the imagination, but it retains some of that "retro" appeal to it.

Enter Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze.

My main problem with this is figuring out when in the name of all that's holy it takes place. The Turtles are living with April, who is totally set in a new apartment, fully unpacked and decorated, and have been ordering so much pizza over such a long time period that the incredibly annoying Keno starts bringing April pizza without her even ordering it. But they've not had any time to look for a new hideout.

And April has a new boss. I guess whatshisname decided to take his son Daniel and move on to better films.

And the Foot Clan is said to be in jail. Yet, in a scene well into the movie and that doesn't seem to be a flashback, Shredder is revealed to be alive and the remaining Foot Ninjas have only just regrouped in the junkyard. Shredder shows up, oddly wearing a different costume than what we last saw him in, and with his mask on, though one of the last things he does before falling off the building is take his mask off.

We hear cries of "His face!" from trained ninjas. Yet, there's no payoff, as we never actually see his face.

Casey, who was implied to actually be with April after the conclusion of the first movie, has mysteriously vanished. Maybe he and April had a fight over him beating up people with a hockey stick.

Then the TGRI cannisters show up and, well, if you thought the movie was lame before, it gets worse.

Shredder creates two mutants, the infantile Tokkha and Rahzar (both Frank "Megatron" Welker in possibly his worst roles ever). Why not Bebop and Rocksteady? Who knows? They're both totally pointless, and, amid a stream of forced coincidences, they finally are turned back into cute baby animals.

Then Shredder turns the ooze on himself, somehow mutating not only his body but his armor as well, and simply crushes himself under a collapsing pier. Poor guy. He just can't get a good fight scene, can he?

Let's not even get into "Ninja Rap" and the Vanilla Ice cameo.

And, as bad as II is, III makes it look like Citizen Kane. I can't comment in detail on this one, as I wasn't too impressed even in '93, and this was far too much to stomach in one viewing. The Turtles go back in time to feudal Japan, where they fight a movie bad enough to make seasoned critics die in their chairs. Oh, but at least Casey's back, though there's not really any point to him.

Man, reviewing these in my head really makes me want to erase the memory. Okay, maybe they're not that bad. But they're definitely not good.

The funniest thing, though, is that after watching Tatsu look all bad but get whipped so easily, I almost want him in TMNT2. It'd be nice to see a giant, almost mute ninja guy be an actual threat for once.

04-03-2007, 11:31 AM
I loved TMNT 1 & 2 when they first came out, but I haven't seen them in years.
Even back then I knew 2 was goofier and wasn't as good as 1 but I still liked it. I also thought it should have been Bebop and Rocksteady, instead of Tokkha and Rahzar, but oh well. And the new April was way hotter.
By the time 3 came out my interest in the Turtles was dead and what little of it I have seen was painful.

04-03-2007, 03:21 PM
Part 1 is by far my favorite of these. Part 2 is ok but 3 is downright painful to watch, or even mention for that matter.

I think part 1 is a good movie because of Casey (like Chux said) and what a good job the actor did. I like seeing that vigilante in him mixed with the arrogance and bullheaded-ness that the character is so full of.
The ninjas are bad Chux, but I think Shredder was ok. He did go out way too quickly when Splinter tossed him off the building though. I wanted to see a fight between those two, but perhaps it was impossible to do. Anyway it is still one of my favorite movies.

The tie-in between these 3 and the cgi film that is in theaters now is very nice. You have the shredder helmet and the TCRI cannister in a scene towards the end of the film. I like how there is consistency with the stories.

El Chuxter
04-03-2007, 03:45 PM
Okay, I can sort of agree with you on Shredder. Both he and Tatsu are good points of the first movie... up until their final battles.

Tatsu bullies around all of the Foot Ninjas, but in the end, it literally takes one hit to completely knock him out.

Shredder is set up as a totally invincible badarse. And he seems to be one during his only fight scene, at first. One by one, the Turtles attack him, and he trounces them. But then it gets silly. The Turtles huddle together to discuss strategy, and Shredder just stands there? WTF? He finally gets the drop on one (Leo?) and offers up a good point about the three Turtles having a chance if they'd not surrendered to save their brother.

Then Splinter shows up, and it gets really loony. Splinter doesn't even really kill Shredder. Shredder does himself in. He rushes at Splinter like a total moron, knowing that Splinter is standing on the edge of the building, and Splinter merely lets him fall.

And why did Shredder get so worked up? A couple of scars? That's really what it amounts to. They cleaned up the original origin story by cutting out Oroku Nagi and the rape of Tang Shen, so there's not nearly enough motivation for Shredder to hate Splinter and the Turtles the way he does, much less get so incredibly stupid at the drop of a hat.

The first one's not unwatchable, but it really doesn't compare at all to TMNT.

04-03-2007, 09:45 PM
Tatsu bullies around all of the Foot Ninjas, but in the end, it literally takes one hit to completely knock him out.

And that compares to what I was discussing in the other thread about the CGI movie. April easily takes down Karai with just one or two strikes, just as Tatsu went down when Casey struck him with that golf club.

04-03-2007, 11:47 PM
Chux, take back what you said about Corey Feldman and Rob Van Winkle !!!

El Chuxter
04-04-2007, 03:23 AM
And that compares to what I was discussing in the other thread about the CGI movie. April easily takes down Karai with just one or two strikes, just as Tatsu went down when Casey struck him with that golf club.

Yeah, but like I said, years have passed, Karai's last info is that April is a cream puff, and she's clearly been studying. Ninjas are human, too, and Karai was likely caught off guard. Either that, or she was distracted by her own reflection in a pool. I'd get distracted easily if I looked like Ziyi Zhang in skintight black armor. :kiss:

Tatsu, though, was whipping Casey, and one smack--and with no leverage from Casey's standpoint--and Tatsu's out. It rings of "uh, we need to get this powerful bad guy out of the movie, pronto!"

04-04-2007, 04:05 AM
I personally liked TMNT 2. It was cheesy as hell but it was good...then again I haven't seen it in years.

Keno was cool though...wasn't he?

El Chuxter
04-04-2007, 09:51 AM
No, he wasn't.

But thanks for asking.

04-04-2007, 03:26 PM
I repeat:

Turtles 1 is the best of these three, hands down.