REVIEW: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016)

A sequel to 2014's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles—the Michael Bay reboot of the franchise—Out of the Shadows finds our hero turtles dealing with internal problems and alienation while thwarting an evil villain who is out to...sigh...annihilate the universe. Can't it be a different evil agenda?

Our Renaissance turtles nicknamed Leo (Pete Ploszek), Donnie (Jeremy Howard), Mikey (Noel Fisher), and Raph (Alan Ritchson) find themselves chasing after their enemy, The Shredder (Brian Tee), who just escaped NYPD custody. The Shredder's agenda, however, is not just to simply skip incarceration, but to team up with an ugly alien named Kraang who wants to take over the world. The Shredder is assisted by a nerdy scientist, Dr. Stockman (Tyler Perry), whose ultimate dream is to be validated for his genius.

Directed by David Green, TMNT2 is a dizzying execution of a kiddie-formula plot. The camera never stops moving, as if afraid that if it becomes stationary for a couple of seconds, kids will get bored. About 90 percent of the time, the camera wildly swings up, down, and all around, preventing you from actually watching the movie. This seemingly drunken treatment robs you of any experience, except perhaps mild dizziness.

TMNT2 is just a hyperactive visual showcase. The turtles' personalities are flat, including April O' Neill's (Megan Fox) whose only greatest moment, and the movie's most inspired scenes, is her undercover sequence. The only characters that bring color to this CGI-riddled movie is Perry's semi-comedic Stockman and the high-spirited newcomer Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), a masked hockey-costumed vigilante that befriends the turtles; his fight moves beating the turtles' anytime. 

Tee's The Shredder evokes a cold, threatening aura but because he's soon relegated to a head henchman for a talking brain, he could end the world for all you care. The Shredder's errand boys, Bebop and Rocksteady, are silly, farting cartoon figures, but no doubt will tickle the kids' funny bone. Will Arnet and Laura Linney have arresting presence but are generic pawns in the screenplay.

TMNT2's storyline is pretty standard—with some Marvel ripoff and lessons on teamwork and self-acceptance—and is designed for kids who might appreciate the movie solely because they're seeing the turtles in live action, while experiencing something similar to riding a virtual roller coaster. But for the parents? The movie's colorful, frenzied, and visual chaos will either put an adult into a coma or induce rage.

2 out of 5 stars
Opens June 1, 2016 in Philippine cinemas

Photos courtesy of United International Pictures


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