Review: Films Set In Japan – ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III’ (1993)

Well I managed to sit through all 95 minutes of this movie which is set in feudal Japan (1185 to 1868). I will never ever get that time back! I watched this with one eye very much on how it inter-spersed the heroes in a half shell with the legendary and deadly samurai.

At the start of the 1990’s the Teenage Mutant Ninja (changed to ‘hero’ for the cartoon) Turtles were big business. I recall watching a few episodes of the cartoon and getting a pirate copy of the first film but it’s probably the theme tune which sticks in my head more than anything and I am afraid to say that my ironic use of the word ‘cowabunga’ in this day and age loses its irony the more I say it!

Lets get on with the storyline then. On second thoughts why should I bother wasting any time explaining it when it seems that the writers put so little effort in to yet another time-travel plot gimmick that had something to do with a magic scepter which could transport them back to 17th century Japan. Possibly the only positive from the film is that Michaelangelo, Leonardo, Donatello and Raphael train to perfect the art of becoming one and even manage to show how the introduction of guns into Japan destroyed the samurai class and altered power structures.

Primary antagonist Shredder is totally absent in this movie (maybe he died in the second movie???) , Splinter is under-used and pretty much static for the few moments he appears (albeit his top half only!) in his underground house. Anyway, who gives a sh*t about all this. The popularity of the turtles was already on the wane by the time this film came out in 1993.