Ok, I honestly don’t remember if this movie actually appeared in theaters or not. I mean, it obviously did, because it had a box office return, but I just don’t remember seeing it. Then again, after the debacle of the last movie, I doubt I would have gone to see this in theaters anyways. However, the fact that I never saw it in theater didn’t make a difference as I would wind up seeing bits and pieces of it on TV over the years before I wound up buying it on DVD. So let’s see how good of a movie it is in it’s entirety as I watch today’s movie, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.
The plot In 1603 Japan, 4 samurai are chasing after Prince Kenshin and when they corner him in the woods, the samurai demand he come back to the palace. Kenshin refuses and attempts to fight his way free but the samurai disarm him and take him back to the palace, unaware that a young woman was watching them. In the present day, the Turtles are practicing in their lair but after a while, Raphael throws a sai into the radio and questions why they are still training, as the Foot is defeated and nobody knows they are down there. As he storms off to sulk, April shows up with some presents for the guys before she heads off on her vacation. After handing the Turtles their gifts, April starts unwrapping her gift to Splinter, a strange antique Japanese scepter. Back in ancient Japan, Kenshin is scolded by his father, Lord Norinaga, and when Norinaga moves to kill Kenshin for insulting him, he is stopped by the appearance of Walker, a British merchant who has brought more men and weapons to aid Norinaga in his war. Kenshin is dismissed to the temple to reflect and after chasing out the scholars, he sees a scroll, depicting the Turtles, which he calls “Kappa”. He then sees the scepter and reads the inscription printed on it, “Open wide the gates of time”, and the scepter begins to light up. In the present, the scepter April is holding begins to light up and as the Turtles watch, she is enveloped in electricity and disappears, only to be replaced by Kenshin, wearing April’s clothes. Meanwhile, April finds herself in ancient Japan, where she is captured by Norinaga’s guards. April is brought before Norinaga, who believes that she is a witch that spirited Kenshin away. After they destroy April’s walkman, Walker approaches April to serve as a translator and April tries to bluff her way out but Walker sees through it and tells Norinaga she should be killed. Norinaga decides to imprison her instead and while there, another prisoner, Whit, is brought in, who April thinks looks like Casey Jones. In the present, Kenshin faints after seeing Splinter and the Turtles and when he revives, they are able to figure out what happened. The Turtles make plans to go back in time to rescue April, enlisting Casey to help Splinter watch over Kenshin and whoever shows up in their place. When the Turtles use the scepter to travel back in time, they are replaced by Norinaga’s honor guard, not the priests they expected, and Splinter is able to calm the guards and Kenshin down so they don’t start fighting. In the past, the Turtles find themselves in a battle, during which Michelangelo gets separated from the others and is knocked out by Mitsu, the woman who had watched Kenshin being captured, and she has her rebel forces carry him away. The other Turtles head back to Norinaga’s castle, and try to hide when Norinaga summons them. Meanwhile, Walker and Norinaga are discussing whether Norinaga needs Walker’s guns and after Norinaga leaves, Walker sends his assistant Niles to fetch April. Niles and two men head to the prison, encountering Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello along the way, and the Turtles follow after him and manage to free April. When Norinaga’s guards show up and begin attacking them, April frees Whit, who shows her a way out through a drainage tunnel and they make their escape. April and the Turtles go looking for Michelangelo when they are suddenly attacked by Mitsu and the rebel forces. Whit ends up saving April and when Mitsu attempts to shoot them with an arrow, Raphael throws a sai at her and breaks her bow. Mitsu calls off the attack and when Donatello and Leonardo take off their helmets, Mitsu says they look like the other one, and the Turtles realize she knows where Michelangelo is. Mitsu and her forces lead the Turtles, April, and Whit towards their village where Michelangelo is being kept but they find it under attack by Walker and his men, who are looking for the scepter. Michelangelo is set free and encounters Walker, who approaches him and prepares to shoot him but the Turtles manage to save him and Walker is driven out of the village. When a young boy named Yoshi is trapped in a burning house, Michelangelo risks his life to grab him and Leonardo performs CPR to save his life, causing the villagers to befriend the Turtles. With the scepter missing, the Turtles try to figure out another way to get home, with Donatello having a blacksmith fashion a new scepter. Meanwhile, Raphael starts to bond with Yoshi while Michelangelo develops feelings for Mitsu. At the palace, Walker describes the Turtles to Norinaga, who shows him the scroll with 4 Kappa that resemble the Turtles, and he decides to purchase Walker’s guns and cannons. A spy for Mitsu informs her of this and she tells the Turtles that they will attack the village in the morning. Raphael goes to comfort Yoshi, who doesn’t want Raphael to die so he gives him the scepter, which was hidden under the house. Raphael calls out for the others and when they see the scepter, Raphael realizes that Mitsu made sure to hide it so they would be forced to stay and fight, and Michelangelo questions if it is true but Mitsu leaves without answering. As the Turtles and April prepare to use the scepter to leave, they hear a commotion outside and see that Whit has grabbed Mitsu and is holding a knife to her throat. Whit demands they hand over the scepter, which the Turtles reluctantly do, and then rides off with Mitsu, telling them to being Kenshin to the temple. At the palace, Walker brings Mitsu to face Norinaga, who demands she tell him where Kenshin is but she tells him that he is on a magic journey and only the scepter can bring him back, which Walker now has. Walker has Mitsu placed in the prison as April shows up at the palace and heads towards Walker and Whit, yelling at Whit for betraying them. However, April was meant as a distraction, as the Turtles head up the drainage ditch into the prison and free Mitsu and the other rebels. They then begin fighting with Norinaga’s guards and, after being joined by the rest of the rebels, they are able to capture Norinaga. Suddenly, Walker appears with April as his hostage while his men show up with their guns and the order the rebels to surrender. Walker then tells his men to shoot the Turtles but Leonardo dares him to do it himself so Walker decides to use a cannon but misses when Leonardo ducks into his shell. Walker runs away and the rest of his men are quickly chased off by the rebels. Walker grabs the scepter, and his pet bird, and tries to escape from the Turtles, throwing the scepter away to aid in his escape. Michelangelo manages to catch the scepter while Whit fires a catapult at Walker, knocking him off the castle wall where he falls to his death in the water’s below. Later, April and Donatello are ready to use the scepter to leave but Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo are hesitant to leave ancient Japan. April manages to convince Raphael and Leonardo, while Mitsu says that Michelangelo promised to bring Kenshin back. In the present, Kenshin grows impatient and decides to use the scepter to head back to the past, with Splinter managing to convince him to take the honor guard with him. In the past, Michelangelo is saying goodbye to Mitsu and races to join the others but they disappear before he can reach them. In the present, April, Raphael, Leonardo, and Donatello arrive back in the lair and realize that Michelangelo did not make it, while the honor guard that is still there has the scepter and runs off. April and the others give chase but as the guard exits the lair, lightning envelopes him and Michelangelo appears, climbing back down the ladder to the lair. In the past, Kenshin approaches Mitsu just as Norinaga is escorted towards them. Kenshin hands Mitsu the scepter, who gives it to Norinaga, and after he heads into the temple with it, Kenshin approaches Mitsu and kisses her. In the present, Michelangelo is depressed over leaving Mitsu and the past but Splinter and the other Turtles cheer him up.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III met with poor results from the critics, holding a 21% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, ” It’s a case of one sequel too many for the heroes in a half shell, with a tired time-travel plot gimmick failing to save the franchise from rapidly diminishing returns.” A fourth movie was planned called The Next Mutation where the Turtles would undergo a secondary mutation, as well as a 5th Turtle being introduced, but the movie ended up being scrapped but the idea was used in a live action TV series produced by Saban. The movie was a modest hit at the box office, earning $42.2 million off of a $21 million budget.
The sequels just keep deteriorating in quality every time. This movie was definitely not good and probably would have been better suited as a direct-to-video rather than a theatrical release, regardless on if it did earn a profit. The acting was honestly weak, and even the voice actors just didn’t seem really enthusiastic over being in this movie. The story was boring, trying to revitalize the series some by adding a time travel twist but it just felt lame and kind of fell flat on it’s face. The fight scenes were not that impressive while the suits themselves, due to being created by a different company, looked different, and not necessarily in a good way. They honestly should have quit while they were behind and skipped this movie cause it really isn’t worth watching.
Rating: 1 1/2 out of 5