Director: Jonathan Liebesman (2014)
Crawling out of New York sewers after a seven year hibernation these turtles really stink.
This is a damnably dull and witless reboot of a dormant franchise cobbled together with the least possible inspiration.
The plot, for what it’s worth, follows ambitious TV reporter April O’Neil (Megan Fox) as she teams up with the four mutant turtles to thwart criminal samurai Shredder and his Foot Clan gang’s plan to rule New York.
O’Neil is unwittingly used as bait by the clan to catch a vigilante who foils a dockside heist. The vigilante turns out to the four computer animated kickass turtles – Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello and Raphael, voiced by Johnny Knoxville, Noel Fisher, Jeremy Howard and Alan Ritchson.
The quartet were raised in the sewers by the giant mutated rat and sensei master Splinter (Tony Shalhoub). They squabble, eat pizza, say ‘Cowabunga!’ and wear colour coded masks. Michelangelo is the most easily identifiable because he’s the most annoying.
April recognises them as the turtles she kept in her dad’s lab before he died in a mysterious fire. He was developing a mutagen that would eradicate disease. Luckily she kept all his scientific notes.
She tells her dad’s ex-partner turned industrialist Eric Sacks (William Fichtner) but he’s now in cahoots with Shredder and planning to use the turtles’ mutated blood to blackmail the city.
There are fights, chases, rocket launchers, exploding cars and remote controlled flying daggers. The film is sufficiently self-aware to be happy in pointing out how ridiculous it all is – but it’s the sloppy execution not the premise that’s the problem.
In another film Fox’s expressionless face and lack of dramatic range would be a severe hindrance – but here they’re just part of the overall ooze of ineptitude.
Mutants, ninjas and turtles all deserve better than this – probably teenagers as well.