“First, we must observe the ancient ritual of the, uh, uh… traditional pre-fight donut.”
The Scoop: PG 1991, directed by Michael Pressman and starring Paige Turco, David Warner and Mark Caso.
Tagline: Cowabunga, it’s the new turtle movie!
Summary Capsule: Mutant martial arts amphibians re-team to wrap up loose ends from the last movie.
Justin’s rating: If I was a mutated animal, I’d probably be a Young Adult Mutant Judo Three-Toed Sloth
Justin’s review: The first thing that might cross your mind when you read the title of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is, “So, hey. What’s the secret?” The secret is… there really is no secret. Honestly. They go on in this movie like it’s some big revelation that a toxic ooze made the turtles grow large, but that’s not so much a “revelation” as it is a “flashback to the first movie, where they told us the same exact thing.” The ooze itself doesn’t have any secrets, per se, except for making an already long movie name even longer. So if you’re holding out for a secret to make The Crying Game and The Usual Suspects both look like Hardy Boys subplots, chances are that you’re not going to find it here.
So what will you find, in this second silver screen outing of our favorite four mutated sewer freaks? Turtles II actually tears a small opening in space and time to let us peek in on a Bizarro New York City, where just about everyone is absolutely orgasmic over pizza and Vanilla Ice is the flat-topped centerpiece of American entertainment. Strange enough, but it gets a little more weird when the turtles go home shopping in the sewers, the Shredder reappears and makes his helmet far more spikey (which has just got to be hazardous to put on in the morning without slicing up your hands), and there are some new mutated freaks on the loose doing great harm to tacky nightclubs.
As a sequel, TMNT 2 isn’t. Instead, this film is like a two-hour epilogue to the first movie, wrapping up some more-or-less untidy ends and doing a heck of a lot of biding time until it gets to the end. Shredder, as it turns out, wasn’t made into a garbage cube at the end of the first movie; nope, he’s back, but merely for revenge. That’s just about the gist of the film. There’s no grand scheme, no masterful twist on Turtles lore, it’s just one dinged-up dude looking to put the hurt on some overgrown reptiles. On their end, the turtles (Mikey, Leo, Ralph, and Don) get some new voices, a new plucky Asian sidekick (who will have you begging the film to eviscerate by about ten minutes in), and a new April O’Neill for some reason.
Absent, sadly, is the sarcastic, quipping Casey Jones. Alas.
So why should you see TMNT 2? Hey, I’m not your daddy, I’m not making you see this film or eat your brussels sprouts. But I will make two arguments for the defense, should you care to listen.
1. While not as great as the first movie, TMNT 2 is far and above better than the horrible third movie, which makes it a solid “good” effort. There’s still a ton of hilarious quotes and sight gags, and I’m all for any movie that has a snappy turtle using sausage links as nunchucks.
2. The worst excuse for a musical scene ever. This happens when a NYC nightclub is crashed by four weapon-wielding turtles and two other overpumped mutations, duking it out. Normally, this would be a good cause to evacuate and bring the party elsewhere, but this is not a normal night.
Vanilla Ice holds the stage.
With a sly look at his backup dancers-slash-“band”, the man named after both frozen water and the blandest type of ice cream cranks it loud and proud, old school. That is to say, he starts hopping around on the stage like a freaking madman, yelping one of the worst — yet incredibly memorable — raps since the genre began.
Yes, it’s the “Ninja Rap” song, and it contains such complex and mystifying lyrics as “Ninja ninja rap, ninja ninja rap” and “Go go go go go”. That the crowd is held entranced and starts cheering both the turtles (some who are, I might remind you, waving about incredibly razor-sharp weapons in an enclosed area) and V.Ice. Yes, it’s a sad moment in our history, one which our descendants will use to forever discredit anything that came out of the early nineties, but it’s also so over-the-top stupid that if you’re able to view this scene and survive, it pretty much renders you invincible from there on out.
TMNT 2 has all the markings of “Oh no! We just made a hit, quick, pump out a fast sequel before the public changes their mind about this fad!” all over it. You will miss the quick wit of Corey Feldman and you can gripe (with good justification) over the extremely cheap way Shredder is done in by the end of this movie. Yet, it is your sacred duty, as a member of this planet, to see the Ninja Rap song at least once, and memorize the lyrics. Trust me, when the alien invasion begins and the only way to defeat the Martians is through the complex melodies of “Go Ninja Go”, you’ll be very grateful to Mr. Ice.
- “In Memory of Jim Henson” over the title credits
- Wow. That girl the guy is kissing is *butt* ugly. Poor him.
- You study martial arts, great, so what, kid? I did, and I’m not going to stick around when the fight is 15-to-1 and I should be calling the cops anyway. Idiot.
- So are the bad guys stealing toys? From the toy store? And wearing women’s hosery on their faces? That’s just sad.
- Splinter is such a downer
- Is Shredder waving to someone? Is he feeling the air instead of digging himself out?
- Ahh I love angry baldy guy
- Does every movie professor wear a bowtie?
- Bad guys get to say “SILENCE!” a lot
- The most fake-looking laboratory in the world
- Laughing at one of the turtles saying “Like video games… in 3-D!!!”
- Mike faking the flips, good stuff
- The Splinter basically wears pajamas?
- BABIES! THEY’RE BABIES! hehe
- Watch some of the Foot ninjas “train” in the background… they’re barely moving, it’s quite pathetic
- Sound waves can actually knock you across the room (also see Back to the Future)
- Mutating also mutates your outfit.
- Except for Donatello, none of the Turtles uses their trademark weapons in this film.
- Yesh, sadly I used to own this soundtrack album. So listening to the background songs in this film — which aren’t that good, start to end — bring back some adolescent memories for me. But probably not for you.
Leonardo: That’s right, Shredder, you forgot, we carry insurance.
Michaelangelo: Yeah, Mutual Splinter dude!
Donatello: Yee haw! Ninja cowboy!
Keno: Hey which of you lovely ladies gets to ride with me tonight?
Girl: Dream on, Dweeb.
Keno: Okay, and when I do I’ll dream of someone a little thinner.
Raphael: Okay, we get you in, we find the Foot headquarters, we get you out to tell the others, right?
Keno: Gee, maybe I should write this down.
Raphael: What? [skyward] I’m being punished aren’t I?
Shredder: Go ahead. Attack me if you will. When it is over, you will call me master!
Rahzar: [to Shredder] Mama!
[They hug Shredder]
Shredder: Get off me! BABIES! THEY ARE BABIES! AAARRRRRGH!
April O’Neil: The rat is the cleanest one.
Donatello: The perimeter’s quiet.
Leonardo: Yeah, a little too quiet.
[Donatello knocks two Foot soldiers out]
Donatello: Well, that was easy!
Leonardo: Yeah, a little too easy.
Donatello: Look! It’s Raph!
Michaelangelo: Yeah, a little too Raph.
Leonardo: I’m Leonardo.
Michaelangelo: I’m Michaelangelo.
Raphael: I’m Raphael!
Michaelangelo: All the good ones end in “O”!
If you enjoyed this movie, try:
- Honey, I Shrunk The Kids
- Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure