Fun, originality missing in this sequel

Megan Fox teams up with the quad of friends for the second film in the movie franchise.
The Turtles (from left Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello) are back to save the day.
The Turtles (from left Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello) are back to save the day. PHOTO: UNITED INTERNATIONAL PICTURES

REVIEW / SCIENCE FICTION / COMEDY

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES: OUT OF THE SHADOWS (PG)

112 minutes / Opens today / 1.5/5 stars

THE STORY: Some years after the events of the first movie, the sequel picks up with the return of The Turtles' arch-enemy Shredder (Brian Tee), making mutant supersoldiers with the help of Dr Stockman (Tyler Perry). Reporter April O'Neil (Megan Fox), the team's ally, meets mysterious vigilante Casey Jones (Stephen Amell). Meanwhile, evil alien Commander Krang brings his superweapon, the Technodrome, to Earth.  

The producers listened to the fans and this is the movie they wanted, according to the marketing materials for this project, proving again that existing customers are the last people you should consult when making something new.

Because the result is this, a fan service roll-call of characters from the television cartoon, caught up in a series of loud, vertigo-inducing escapades. What is missing is fun, coherence and anything resembling a story.

But the formula established in the first movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), proved that there was a demand for a movie featuring four computer-drawn heroes and humour not usually seen outside World Wrestling Entertainment matches.

In fact, the entire two hours resemble one long commercial wrestling bout, with baddies making speeches about how evil they are and the good guys swearing to defeat them.

It might be tempting to say this is the way it is because it is made for under-10s, but that would not take into consideration the images of Fox in fetish uniforms. The PG rating for this does not take into account the unsubtle leering at the fully clothed Fox.

Michael Bay - the king of noise, roller-coaster camera moves, unfunny jokes and cheesecake shots - returns as producer.

Director David Green (Earth To Echo, 2014) is the relative newcomer hired to oversee this lucrative property, for the usual reason that new directors are less resistant to firm guidance by studio executives.

Because this is what it is - a committee-created product, containing as much heart and originality as the Turtles' favourite snack, a fast-food pizza.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2016, with the headline 'Fun, originality missing in this sequel'. Print Edition | Subscribe