Saturday, December 3, 2011

bad/awesome flixxx review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990)

"You are here because the outside world rejects you. THIS is your family. *I* am your father. I want you all to become full members of the Foot. There is a new enemy: freaks of nature who interfere with our business. You are my eyes and ears; find them. Together we will punish these creatures. These... turtles." - Shredder

"This is great. First it was The Farm That Time Forgot and now this. Why don't I ever fall in with people who own condos? Probably hard to get good maid service in a sewer. Maybe you guys should try Roto Rooter, huh? " - Casey Jones

"Wise man say forgiveness is divine, but never pay full price for late pizza." - Michaelangelo

I don't know about you guys, but this flick holds up. Who doesn't like ninjas, and pizza? Those 2 things alone as a premise have held together lesser movies. But this one has that and much more. Not mere ninjas, but young ones, young mutated ninja ones, young mutated ninja turtle ones. Beat that, and you're just slinging adjectives together. This movie may only be topped by its own first sequel TMNT 2: SECRET OF THE OOZE (which hopefully we'll be discussing soon enough). Clearly because that one has something this one doesn't: Vanilla Ice. But this one does have Casey Jones and April O'Neil and Splinter and the boys, and ol Oroku Saki himself, the Shredder. Sit back, order some pie, and check out TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES!!!

How appropriate that my roommates are building a patio outback and cranking what seems to be the greatest alternative radiohits of the 90s on a Jango station (Pandora clone). I've been sitting here laying on the heating pad all afternoon reliving some of the worst jams that I'd NEVER admit to having listened to back then beginning around the time this movie came out, when I was in the 5th grade. I'm laying on said heating pad because some asshole rear-ended me and totally totaled my Jeep 2 nights ago as I was leaving the Hurricanes game. BUMMER. But anyway, at least I have stacks and stacks of VHS to keep me happy. Also a very clean pair of sweatpants. But... I'm revealing too much. For my first feature-length fiasco I chose TMNT. This one was always near and dear to me. Straight from the pages of the Eastman and Laird comics, to the cartoon, to saying "DAMN" on the big screen, these turtles were the first comic/cartoon/movie guys I'd seen that got to say "DAMN" since Ultra Magnus on the 1st cartoon TRANSFORMERS THE MOVIE. That in itself made some moms reluctant to let their sons go see it, but having a dad that "spun webs of profanity that may still be lingering in some kind of giant web over the greater metropolitan area of Charlotte, North Carolina", this seemed like a harmless attribute.

Reporter April O'Neil starts telling tales of a gang of baddies stealing all the tv's and radio's and other good stuff from 1990 NYC. The leader of the gang of young runaway boys is a mean dude named Shredder. He decides to shut her up for good. But a turtle with a red bandana on his eyes rescues her to recover his weapon he lost the night before saving her. He takes her back to his "lair" where all his buds, the teenage mutant ninja turtles live. They are ruled by a giant rat named Splinter. The rat found them in the sewer where some nuclear waste was falling on their heads and it got on him too. So then they grew into funny looking puppets, and learned to dance, and eat pizza and jinjitsu. They are followed by a gang member. So the turtles take April back to her house, but when they get back home, Splinter has been kidnapped. They also meet this dude who beats people up with sporting goods named Casey Jones.

So the son of April boss is one of the bad guy teens, but he feels remorse and actually sees one of the turtles. When he runs away again, he meets Splinter in the bad guy hideout which looked cool as hell really. If I was a teen, I would've hung there. They had an arcade version of NARC and a bunch of other classic video games, and a skatepark that had a weird loop that went around through the whole place. There are tons of those now, but not back in 1990. Anyway, Splinter tells him that when he was a little rat, he sliced up Oroku Saki's face and that's why he became the Shredder. He also says Shredder killed his master. Meanwhile, the turtles get ambushed and the building is caught on fire so they escape to a farm that April's family must have owned upstate, and Raphael is in a coma for a while.

Ok, so April wants to bang Casey Jones (can you blame him for doing it?) Raphael snaps out of it. April gets fired. The turtles trip in the woods and see a vision of Splinter. They head back to town to whoop Shredder's ass. They fight the foot clan throughout their lair, then all the way through town til they find Shredder. Then they can't seem to win even though they are giving it their all. Then Splinter shows up, talks shit to Shredder and Shredder gets pissed and runs at him. Splinter grabs some nunchuks and makes Shredder fall off and hang by a thread, and then fall into a trash compactor. Then the turtles dance some more. Should you see this? Fuck yes, if you haven't EVER seen it, then go find a copy. You probably can find one for 50 cents in a thrift shop. There are more copies of this on vhs than copies of Star Trek the movie, and if you're an avid thrift shopper you know that's about the most findable movie of all time. TWO FUNNY THINGS: Corey Feldman did the voice of Donatello- which is awesome cuz of his line in THE 'BURBS ("Hey Pizza Dude!"), and Sam Rockwell makes a weird cameo as a young leader of the foot clan kids. Weird shit.


  1. Favorite parts= At the end when Shredder throws the knife at Splinter while hanging off the side of the building, Splinter somehow manages to catch the knife and then lets go of the numbchucks! Editing! Oscar!
    Also, little known fact: the same radioactive waste that turned the Turtles into teenage mutants (though not ninjas) also gave Matt Murdock his heightened senses and total blindness.

  2. Luv the Casey jones cricket fight scene with Raphael and love when Danny? (redhairkid) steals wallet....and when those kids playing games and smoking cartons of cigs...and splinter was scary