Monday, November 08, 2010

“First, we must observe the ancient ritual of the, uh, uh... traditional pre-fight donut!”

Turtle Power was still in really high gear in 1991 and a year after the first movie, there was a second: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze.

Now that the characters are established, we can get into the meat of the plot. The Turtles are regarded as urban legends in New York City, still doing random delivery work and eating pizza, rescuing a delivery boy/martial arts enthusiast Keno (Ernie Reyes Jr.). After their home got trashed in the last movie, they’re staying with April O’Neil (Paige Turco) and the apartment is a little crowded for six people/mutants. April covers the story of a company, TGRI, and its efforts to clean up some of their old radioactive messes, led by Professor Jordan Perry (David Warner in a surprisingly non-villainous, non-sinister role) Splinter (voiced by Kevin Clash again) informs Leonardo (Mark Caso & voiced by Brian Tochi), Michelangelo (Michelan Sisti & voiced by Robbie Rist), Donatello (Leif Tilden & voiced by Adam Carl) and Raphael (Kenn Troum & voiced by Laurie Faso) that TGRI was the company that created the Ooze that made them. They set out to discover the secret of the Ooze (DUN DUN DUN!) but so does a revitalized Foot Clan, led by a returned and decidedly un-squished Shredder (François Chau & voiced by David McCharen) who gets some Ooze for himself and uses it to make some new mutants, Tokka & Razhar (both voiced by voice over legend Frank Welker).

Like the first movie, this one throws a LOT of plot at the audience and manages to keep things moving. Since its Science oriented, Donatello gets a lot more character development as he & Dr. Perry swap techno babble.

Oh yeah, and wrestler Kevin Nash is in it as the Super Shredder, for all of 30 seconds.

Directed by Michael Pressman, the movie lacks some of the visual “edge” of the first one. This one’s cleaner, more polished, less gritty. A bit goofier than the previous one, though the fight scenes remain one of the high points, though its more fist fighting than using weapons.

Eastman & Laird get creator credits and screenplay by Todd W. Langen. The script really amps up the more cartoony aspects of the series than the comics to be more in line with the target audience. But here’s the rub, we seven & eight year olds at the time liked the first movie because it was gritty. Because it was, by our standards, “hardcore.” Sure, we still liked the sequel because it was the Turtles, but we all noticed the toned down violence and wondered “what the hell?”

Original music by John Du Prez again, but really, what’s going to stick out in your head is the on-screen “impromptu” rap performance of “Ninja Rap” by Vanilla Ice & Earthquake. And it will Never. Ever. Leave you.

Eh, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret Of The Ooze is, ultimately okay. It’s not great. Not even as good as the first one. But it’s kind of charming in its harmless stupidity.


No comments: