Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an action-comedy distributed by New Line Cinema. It stars Judith Hoag as April O’Neil, Elias Koteas as Casey Jones, Michelan Sisti as Michelangelo, Leif Tilden as Donatello, and Josh Pais as Raphael. The story is by Bobby Herbeck. The director is Steve Barron.
New York City is plagued by a serious crimewave. TV reporter April O’Neil believes that the source of it is a mysterious gang of ninjas known only as “The Foot”. One night, as April is returning home from work, she accidentally witnesses a robbery. But before the gang can get to her, a metal object shatters the streetlight, leaving the area in pitch darkness. There are sounds of a struggle and, when the police arrive and shine their light on the situation, the robbers are all tied up and April is safe. But she spots a weapon on the ground, a ninja sai. She retrieves it as its owner secretly looks on, frustrated that he had left his weapon. Now, we go down into the sewer where we find April’s saviors, four teenage turtles. They return to their sewer home where their ninja master Splinter is waiting. After they reveal to him what had happened in the alley, they order some pizza as the sai owner Raphael, still angry, leaves to go see a movie. Later, he runs into a vigilante named Casey Jones. Casey beats him and flees. Because of this, Raph is more frustrated than ever. He returns to the sewer and is counseled by Splinter. The next day, while the rest of the turtles are watching April O’Neil on TV, Raph decides to pay her a visit at the police station. He follows her down to the subway where she is ambushed by mysterious Foot soldiers. After they knock her out, Raph saves her before they can kill her. He believes he knocked out all the men and carries April back to the sewer. But there is one soldier who follows him all the way back. As April regains consciousness and is told the story of the turtles by Splinter, the one soldier waits until the turtles and April head back to her apartment. Then, he abducts their beloved ninja master. When they return home, they find the place ransacked and Splinter gone. Devastated by this, they return to April’s apartment. Meanwhile, April’s boss, Charles Pennington, has his own problems with his son Danny who is secretly a part of that Foot gang. He secretly spots the turtles and informs the group’s mysterious master, Shredder, of their location. After nearly killing Raphael, they ambush the remaining turtles in April’s apartment. Casey Jones had secretly spotted Raphael just as the soldiers attack him. He heads over to help the turtles. After April’s apartment is accidentally set on fire, she, Casey and the turtles flee the scene.
The critics, at the time the movie was released, did not go easy on this movie. Rotten Tomatoes called it “good for the heart, irritating for everyone else.” I personally thought it was a very good film. These critics, I believe, gave an unfair critique of this film. I don’t know what they expected it to be. It was a movie about four mutated turtles who were ninjas. I don’t think it was meant to be a classic, although in my opinion it was. The storyline really keeps your attention with all the action, drama, and comedy. This film features a little bit of everything.
Clearly, one of the most interesting characters in the film is Raphael. He is one of the turtles, but he seems to stand out from the rest. Raph is more of an individual towards the beginning, whereas the others tend to stay together. For instance, when he goes out to see a movie by himself and has his battle with Casey Jones, while the others stay back in the sewer and have pizza. Also, Raph again goes out by himself to see April and saves her from the Foot Soldiers all by himself. Finally, there is the scene where the Foot Soldiers nearly kill him as he is one and they are many. In the beginning, he’s doing things by himself but, as the film progresses, and he heals from his beating, he becomes more part of the group as they band together to battle the Foot Clan and find out the fate of Splinter.
To wrap, in my opinion, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is an excellent movie for the entire family!