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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (3 stars)

Fun, cheesy reboot of the action franchise starring Megan Fox and Will Arnett

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The director's credit may read Jonathan Liebesman, but there's no mistaking the influence of producer Michael Bay on this reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle franchise, which began life in 1984 as a humble self-published comic book by Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman, before spawning numerous big and small screen incarnations, alongside merchandising opportunities aplenty.

Megan Fox is TV reporter April O'Neil, who's on the hunt for a scoop when she discovers Leonardo (voiced by Johnny Knoxville), Michelangelo (Noel Fisher), Donatello (Jeremy Howard) and Raphael (Alan Ritchson), four mutated, teenage turtles whose fighting skills are matched only by their insatiable passion for pizza. Together with their rat sensei Splinter (voiced by Tony Shalhoub), the turtles battle the sinister Shredder (Tohoru Masamune), whose Foot Clan gang are terrorising New York City.

The CGI-enhanced turtles are a vast improvement on their rubber-suited cinematic predecessors (you'll believe a turtle can wield nunchucks this time) and Fox is commendably committed, while there's enjoyable comic support from Will Arnett as her smitten cameraman. In addition, the colourful production design (with a stark emphasis on yellows and greens) gives the film a distinctive look which befits its comic book origins.

The script makes a couple of subtle tweaks to the turtles' back-story, but is otherwise respectful of the source material. Liebesman keeps things snappy and delivers an exciting central set-piece involving a snow-covered mountain slope, as well as an impressively vertiginous finale that makes strong use of the 3D effects. This fast-paced slice of action adventure will satisfy fans but is as loaded with fromage as the film's much salivated over 99-cheese pizza.

General release from Fri 17 Oct.

Official trailer: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

  • 3 stars
  • 2014
  • US
  • 101 min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Jonathan Liebesman
  • Cast: Megan Fox, Alan Ritchson, Jeremy Howard, Pete Ploszek, Noel Fisher, Will Arnett, Danny Woodburn, William Fichtner, Johnny Knoxville, Tony Shalhoub
  • UK release: 17 October 2014

Visually distinctive reboot of the franchise chronicling the adventures of four late-adolescent, martial-arts-trained, pizza-addicted chelonians and their intrepid reporter pal (Fox). The CGI-enhanced turtles are an improvement on their cinematic predecessors, Fox is commendably committed and Arnett is enjoyable as her…

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