The long awaited third sequel...well sorta, after the surprisingly popular half decent first film and the fun arcade fighter-like sequel, the third film limped along. Obviously trying for a fresh look and idea the Turtles find themselves being zapped back in time to feudal Japan mainly to capitalize on their martial arts background. The film was also kinda known as 'Turtles in Time' which was the title of the second scrolling beat 'em up for the SNES fighter back in 92.
To be honest I can see why they would make this move story wise, the Turtles do have that Eastern mythology to them so naturally they would fit well in the land of the rising sun. Its basically all about swapping places in time, the Turtles must travel back in time and exchange places with some elite warriors to save 'April' who accidentally got swapped with a Prince whose father is a Shogun (I think). So what we end up having is a nice lighthearted out of time culture shock routine for both the Turtles in ancient Japan and the Prince and his warriors in present day New York.
So what can you expect? well its pretty clear really, there are lots of hokey, silly, childish fight sequences where the four heroes battle Japanese warriors of various kinds. Lots of visual cartoonish humour, prat falls, rude jokes and talk of pizza. On the flip side back in New York we see the out of time strangers coming to grips with TV, pizza, modern music, night clubs, bars, drink etc...its all very cliched, very cheesy, very hammy and massively predictable but its suppose to be.
The visuals still look nice if you ask me, nothing special, feudal Japan is realised well with lots of hilly rocky green terrain and a nice fortress set. All the extras look fine in their traditional outfits accompanied by traditional weaponry, they all speak Japanese (no subs) and they all take their roles seriously enough to make the ride enjoyable. Sab Shimono as 'Lord Norinaga' looks great in his role and gives a decent performance, easily the best, he actually gives the whole thing a much needed boost of realism. The Turtles don't quite look as good as the previous two films, Henson's boys aren't behind the magic this time and you can tell but its still OK (they look quite good in their samurai armour). Splinter still looks the same which is good and its nice to see Koteas back as 'Casey Jones' albeit in a minor background role.
Not as good as the first two films but I still enjoyed this to a degree. Its meant for kids in every way and is in no way suppose to be anything remotely serious of course. Its still heavily based around the cartoon series which isn't a bad thing but I just feel had they used 'Shredder' 'Krang' 'Bebop' and 'Rocksteady' as the villains, still using the feudal Japan setting, we could have had a much better film.
The whole trilogy really missed Krang, Bebop and Rocksteady, all three films are a nice adaptation of the cartoon series and don't disappoint in all honesty. Sure they get more childish one by one but they still work both visually and simply for fun. For what they are, the approach and style of the franchise, they are perfect, perfect pop culture of the early 90's.