TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES

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Director: Jonathan Liebesman; Screenwriters: Josh Appelbaum, Andre Nemec, Evan Daugherty; Starring: Megan Fox, Will Arnett, William Fichtner, Whoopi Goldberg, Alan Ritchson, Noel Fisher, Pete Ploszeck, Jeremy Howard; Running time: 101 minutes; Certification: 12A }

What can one expect from a Michael Bay-produced, live-action take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, directed by the guy who made Wrath Of The Titans and Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning?  Not much, and understandably so.  The whole thing is a frantic, overzealous, CGI-laden, adrenalin-fuelled (literally), 100mph joke fest with a paper-thin script.  It keeps trying to interest us in a practically non-existent plot and make us laugh with “funny”, down-with-the-kids dialogue, yet succeeds only in making us question how on Earth it took three people to write the thing.  There are misplaced flirt jokes (how can a turtle be attracted to a human?), underdeveloped characters and an abundance of completely ridiculous set-pieces.  Yet for all of the film’s ostensible rubbishness, there’s something kind of okay about it.  It is just a Ninja Turtles film, after all.

Where it works, or at least functions, is when it’s not trying so hard to be cool.  The sporadically funny moments come when the writers are sitting back; the turtles inadvertently crashing a room full of armed henchman or getting high on adrenalin, and the best action sequence is all down to the animators and some zippy direction.  While Megan Fox and Will Arnett emerging unscathed after hurtling down a snowy mountain (which bears a suspicious resemblance to the never-ending runway in Fast Five) in an 18-wheeler doesn’t quite stay within the realms of believability, the sequence itself is rather fun.  The same can’t really be said for the rest of them.  The film is destined to find a home on the telly some Sunday afternoon, where it will rank as acceptable nonsense that people just might watch half of for a bit of a laugh.

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