Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

Directed by Stuart Gillard. Starring Mark Caso, Jim Raposa, Matt Hill, David Fraser, Paige Turco, Elias Turco, Vivian Wu, Sab Shimono, Stuart Wilson. (1993)

REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., March 26, 1993

The kids sure do love these creatures. Their folks can't understand why. And that, in a nut -- er, tortoise -- shell justifies the attraction. They are legend; they are lore; they are turtles; hear them roar. We won't dwell here on their history or their past, it wouldn't contribute especially to our understanding. All you need to know is that this time our teenage mutants time-travel back to 17th century Japan. Why? Because it's there? Because they're ninjas? Because it's the only way to rescue their friend April (Turco) who's gotten sucked into the time-space continuum by some discarded scepter she found at a flea market? Plot's not a real big concern in this epic. Neither is plausibility (things like, why is everyone in feudal Japan bilingually adept at both English and Japanese?). While four 17th century Japanese bodyguards get beamed up to modern-day New York City to fill the spatial void created by the turtle teens' absence, our hard-shelled heroes scrappily wend their way through Japanese palace and countryside doing what their audiences best love them for -- smart-mouthing and ninja fighting. These fun-loving mutants meet life on their own terms, they are heroes despite themselves. Their appeal is apparently strong enough to overcome any potential disturbance regarding plot disjointedness, pseudo-scientific reasoning and historical inaccuracy. Still, these Teenage Mutant Ninja epics are not really mind-numbing so much as mind-less. And it's unlikely that any new chapter in the series will ever rival the first installment for its sheer originality of concept. I mean, we're talking teenage-mutant-ninja-turtles. Where do you go from there? To the dictionary for more adjectives? Look at it this way; it could be worse. Your kids could be hooked on Barney.

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