TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES III
In the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, the martial arts action had been heavily bowdlerised after the Moral Minority reaction to the first film. Here that has been welcomely restored. Even so, the production lacks the energy that the first and even the routine second film had. The barrage of California surfer-speak has become more irritable than amusing and the Turtles themselves are stuck with too much buffoonery and unfunny popular culture in-referencing.
There is disappointingly little to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III the average half-hour episode of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1988-91) animated tv series was funnier, had more solid plot and a better grip on the Turtles as characters than anything in the film. What it direly needed is some of the invaders from Dimension X and villainous brains in exo-skeletons that the animated series had once the film here gets the Turtles back in the past, the plot is lazily photocopied direct from The Seven Samurai (1954). Even then, the story runs out about halfway through and the rest of the film consists of much running back and forward between the various factions, loosely connected by the transparent McGuffin of the sceptre.
One positive aspect of the film is the fine photography especially an opening scene with riders emerging from a flaming red sunset. The period costumes are designed in scarlet reds, which strikingly contrast with the dun, dark brown textures of the castle and village.
A fourth live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film was bandied around for a time but did not emerge due to poor box-office returns from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III. Over a decade later, a fourth Turtles film did finally emerge with the animated TMNT (2007). Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) was a subsequent live-action reboot and was followed by a sequel Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (2016).
Within genre material, director Stuart Gillard has also made the Disney tv movie Return of the Shaggy Dog (1987), the Mars mission comedy RocketMan (1997), the monster tv mini-series Creature (1998), the Disney Channel films The Scream Team (2002), Twitches (2005) and Twitches Too (2007), the tv movie remake of The Initiation of Sarah (2006), WarGames: The Dead Code (2008), the tv mini-series adaptation of Philip Jose Farmers Riverworld (2010), the tv movie Avalon High (2010) and the tv movie Girl vs Monster (2012).