Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III is the awful Turtles flick nobody asked for. The “violent” weapons are back in use, but everything else has gotten worse. After Jim Henson’s unfortunate passing, another creature effects shop took over. While not as horrendous as later live-action projects, the suits are still goofy looking with cheap mouth movements. Most actors remain, but you’d have a hard time comparing it to the previous films. Most of New York is limited to the sewer hideout, pizza is barely present, Shredder is gone, and so is the Foot.
Elias Koteas is back as Casey Jones (and another character) doing absolutely nothing. While April O’Neil is only concerned with going on vacation before being taken on a trip through time. No fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics or cartoon wants a story about time travel to Feudal Japan. This was seriously all they could come up with? The very uninteresting premise sees a Japanese prince replace April thanks to a magical time spector. The Turtles go to rescue April and are replaced by Japanese guards.
While Casey and Splinter keep them company, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello pose as guards mistaken for Kappa. They ally with a beautiful warrior woman, save a village, and fight the woefully uninteresting warmongering Japanese Lord and British tradesman. The comedic banter is just cringy at this point. Leo still leads, Raph is still tough, but soft on a kid, Donnie is still smart, and Mikey is still joke heavy. Although Mikey does have an unexpected arc where he wants to stay in Japan. None of it helps to redeem this weak franchise killing effort. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III doesn’t deserve a “Cowabunga!”