Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III

(Stuart Gillard, USA, 1993)


Despite every bad expectation that the mania for sequels has generated, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III turns out to be the best instalment in its series.

The plot is a fanciful concoction flashing between the contemporary, urban world of the Turtles and ancient, feudal Japan. After travelling back in time with the help of a sceptre found in a flea market, the Turtles are mistaken for ghostly demons and become embroiled in a savage war.

The familiar elements of the series are all there – a stream of mild pop culture references, a touch of moral sermonising from wise rat Splinter, a feisty human heroine (Paige Turco) who never really gets to be part of the action.

But writer-director Stuart Gillard's novel plot premise gives this an élan which its predecessors lacked. All proportions kept, it has something of the wacky charm of the marvellous Chinese Ghost Story series.

© Adrian Martin November 1993

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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