I say that in a totally different sense from how I discussed the new TMNT in the other thread.
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.