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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze Review

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Shredder, the bad guy, has got hold of a jug of the same slime that originally turned the Turtles into mutant teenage ninjas, uses it this time to osmose a dog and a bird into monstrous killing machines, and then - disaster! - captures a Turtle.

★★★★★

Par for the course for juvenile phenomena on such an extraordinary scale, by 1991 Turtlemania had more or less vanished into the hearts, minds and cash registers of yesteryear, the whole point of such a tidal wave of excitement being that once it has peaked it simply ceases to exist, immediately clearing the way for something else. Sequels, therefore, are usually fairly self-defeating and Turtles II's timing seems to do it no favours at all: nine months after the original is far too late to be an ongoing proposition, far too early to hope to attract a new generation. The Secret Of The Ooze, though, shrewdly comes to terms with what it can expect and succeeds in pitching itself at only part of its predecessor's audience - the younger end - thus becoming easily accessible to the four and five-year-olds confused by the original's merely tenuous relation to the TV cartoon.

The plot is even less complicated this time around - Shredder, the bad guy, has got hold of a jug of the same slime that originally turned the Turtles into mutant teenage ninjas, uses it this time to osmose a dog and a bird into monstrous killing machines, and then - disaster! - captures a Turtle. As before, there's plenty of fighting, surfer-type jargon and cool fooling about, but this time around no attempt is made to appease a secondary school age audience, with the first film's overall darkness now kicked into touch (nearly all the action takes place in daylight), along with any grown-up jokes (set pieces and one-liners are silly rather than subtle) and the only real innovation -and the only real clunker - being Vanilla Ice's big screen debut. A guaranteed summer holiday distraction for all the under-tens the house.

This lacks the darkness and subtlty that makes th first film so good, and so adult, but its simplified plot and gags will appeal to the under tens.