Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III (1993) — How the slimy have fallen

“Uh oh, turtle tantrum.”

Justin’s rating: Send me back in time… to 1992, when this horrid flick was just a twinkle in a deranged scriptwriter’s eye!

Justin’s Review: The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle phenomenon began in the mid ’80s with a series of gory and darkly humored comic books. It made the strange transition to a wacky, kid-friendly Saturday morning cartoon in which the live enemies were never killed (just the androids, of course). Soon thereafter, came the first two Turtle movies (best known as the Good Turtle Flick and its Two Hour Epilogue), which straddled the line between cartoonish fare and a more hardcore edge. Well, there was blood, at least. Totally hardcore.

With the TMNT fad slipping away to other mid-90’s interests, New Line quickly released this botch job of a film to squeeze the last few bucks out of the franchise. I couldn’t care less about the studio’s soulless desire to resurrect a dying series to make cash, but I do have qualms — a field full of qualm bushes — about how they wasted this opportunity. The cartoon could never be blamed for a lack of creativity, yet none of the ideas from the show was brought to the film. And this was a cartoon which featured a talking brain from another dimension who wore a robot suit and drove a Death Star on treads. Why couldn’t we see THAT?

Instead, we get shoddy time travel and second-rate Turtle costumes. I know, you wish you wore Huggies today; you’re gonna lose control, you’re so excited. The whole plot of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, which was written by a hungover studio exec in a bathroom stall, is as follows: April (Paige Turco) is accidentally sent back in time with an ancient scepter to ancient Japan, and the Turtles go back to rescue her. Wow. Bet you’re glad you got out of bed this morning and started re-believing in humanity.

And before you grab onto the glimmer of hope that TMNT3 is related in any way to the classic “Turtles In Time” arcade game… well, it’s not. The game, which consisted of you stabbing an A button for ten levels, was far more watchable than this.

The only good I witnessed from TMNT3 was the return of Casey Jones (Elias Koteas), who’s present not only in the present, but present in the past in a past incarnation. I could’ve written that previous sentence more clearly, but I hate you. It’s been a long day, and then I had to watch this film. Anyway, Casey is worth more in my book than any three Turtles, so he’s due for his own feature film spin-off. This, I command.

I’ve seen poorly-funded sequels that contain spirit due to the passion of filmmakers who know they’re working with limited resources, but love their project enough to ignore the underdog status and give it their best. Yeah, that’s not in this. The Turtle costumes are of shoddy quality, the jokes and action are clearly aimed at a demographic I like to call “the fourth grade,” and there’s simply no Foot to kick around anymore.

Yes. A bad pun. I really hate you today.


  • This is the saddest horse-swordfight I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen a lot of horse-swordfights.
  • Splinter looks like a (sorry) drowned rat
  • Whenever a movie prop has its own music cue, you know it’s magical
  • Nice headgear, evil emperor guy
  • If something starts spitting electricity, perhaps you should drop it
  • Ancient Japanese secret… er, demon, huh?
  • When hacked to pieces, a walkman’s music will slowly gear down
  • She’s not a very good bluffer
  • As long as you have a bunch of books and two old computers, you’re able to understand how to time travel
  • Ancient Japanese underwear is kooky
  • Yay for bad pop culture references!

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