Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows – Review (**)

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TURTLES

If a marginal improvement over 2014’s sacrilegious live-action reboot of the iconic superheroes, this follow-up nevertheless serves up few surprises, wearing out its welcome long before the 112-minute run-time comes to an end.

The Turtles are again called into action after The Shredder (Brian Tee) is broken out of custody and teams with mad scientist Dr. Baxter Stockman (Tyler Perry) to build an army of mutant warriors to help them rule the world. This is all while the team also has to contend with the arrival of inter-galactic monster Krang, and a disgruntled cop, Casey Jones (Stephen Amell), who is hell-bent on helping the team whether they like it or not.

If there’s one thing Out of the Shadows has working in its favour, it’s the fanboy appeal; while there are still a host of problems for fans to poke holes in, at least a fairly earnest attempt has been made here to include as many iconic characters as possible, namely by introducing villainous sidekicks Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (WWE’s Sheamus), as well as Baxter, Krang and Casey. Fans will also be relieved to learn that Michelangelo’s widely-panned lusting after April O’Neil (Megan Fox) has been almost completely snuffed out this time around.

While Bebop and Rocksteady in particular succeed in terms of tapping into their goofy origins, the outing is still business as usual for the most part; the plot is an afterthought to the admittedly mildly enjoyable action, there’s egregious product placement everywhere, and at least two more penis jokes than a movie aimed squarely at children should ever really contain.

Subplots pile up and bloat the film out to near-two hours in length when a tight 90 minutes would’ve been just fine. Among the guff, three-time Oscar nominee Laura Linney gets incredulously roped into the mess in a pointless hard-ass cop role that was hopefully at least a fat payday for the actress.

While pleasantly not as obnoxious as the previous film, boasting at least two entertaining set-pieces and cranking up the fan-service to 11, Out of the Shadows is still a low-effort blockbuster that takes the easy gag every single time. Plus, those turning up for iconic supervillain Krang should best not bother; he’s in the film for a little more than five minutes and barely does anything.

**

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is in UK cinemas now and US cinemas June 3rd 

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