Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem (2023) Review

Jul 31, 2023 05:36 PM EST
By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem is pure entertainment at its finest and a film the whole family will enjoy.

Cowabunga!  The crime-fighting, pizza-loving, mutated tortoises are back.  Michelangelo (Shamon Brown, Jr.; The Chi), Donatello (Micah Abbey; Cousins For Life), Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu; The Walking Dead: World Beyond), and Raphael (Brady Noon; Diary of a Wimpy Kid) are once again poised to grace the big screen in the new, animated feature Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem.  Heading to theaters on August 2, 2023, the 100-minute-long film combines their all too familiar origin story with a new enemy - Superfly (Ice Cube; Boyz n the Hood).  Blending pop culture references, new versions of some great songs, a decent story, and laughs, this latest version is pure entertainment.

Scientist Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito; Breaking Bad) created a formula that can transform insects and animals into larger, talking versions of themselves.  However, when Cynthia Utrom's (Maya Rudolph; Bridesmaids) goons find him, they kill him and take his notes but not before his fly and other "supercharged" animals escape.  At the same time, Splinter (Jackie Chan; Rush Hour) rescues four baby turtles who are covered in green ooze.  Becoming contaminated himself, Splinter soon discovers the ooze caused them to mutate into walking, talking, super-strength sewer dwellers condemning them to live underground, away from any human contact.

Of course, as they often do, the now teenaged turtles long for freedom and acceptance so even though they are told not to go above ground, they do.  One night as they are fooling around on a rooftop, they accidentally almost kill a teenage girl named April (Aye Edebiri; The Bear), who gets her scooter stolen in the confusion.  Feeling bad, the Turtles find April's scooter while taking down a group of thugs who stole it.  The chain reaction that is unleashed from their interference leads the boys to work with "their cousins" led by Superfly.  Initially excited to find out there are others like them, the Turtles soon discover Superfly isn't all he seems.

With an immense group of talented actors voicing these beloved characters, the dialogue flows smoothly and the excitement each exudes is infectious.  Chan is perfectly cast as the wise, elder, Ninja rat and Ice Cube brings his street-wise persona to Superfly, giving him a swagger, toughness, and coolness that begs others to follow his lead. Edebiri is also excellent as April.  With humor and intelligence, she manages to be likable despite coming across as your average, nerdy, know it all.

The animation style is reminiscent of the recent Miles Morales' Super-Man films.  However, it has a grittier quality that is somewhat graffiti-like in nature.  While this style is more "freeform" and messier than much of the animation we are used to, it fits the overall feel of the movie.  With vigilante turtles and a giant insect villain aiming for world dominance, the indistinct lines add a softness to an otherwise "concrete jungle" setting. 

Veteran director Jeff Rowe (The Mitchells vs The Machines) keeps the pace moving so there is no time to get bored.  He also doesn't add anything superfluous that isn't necessary to the story therefore the audience is engaged the entire 100-minute run time.  FYI, he also adds a short end-credits scene that you won't want to miss.

There have been many different versions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles over the years - both animated and live-action, both made for movie theaters and television screens - so you may be asking yourself why we need this latest one.  The reason is, this is different from any of the others, with messy animation, pop culture references, and several jokes that land where they should.  This is pure entertainment at its finest and a film the whole family will enjoy.

Grade: A-

Stream from Amazon Prime
Purchase Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem from the iTunes store.
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For more information about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem images are courtesy of Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


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