Genre: CG Animation
Director: Jeff Rowe
Cast: Micah Abbey, Shamon Brown Jr., Hannibal Buress, Rose Byrne, Nicolas Cantu, John Cena, Jackie Chan, Ice Cube, Natasia Demetriou, Ayo Edebiri, Giancarlo Esposito, Post Malone, Brady Noon, Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Maya Rudolph
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: PG (Some Violence)
Released By: UIP
Official Website: 

Opening Day: 31 August 2023

Synopsis: After years of being sheltered from the human world, the Turtle brothers set out to win the hearts of New Yorkers and be accepted as normal teenagers through heroic acts. Their new friend April O’Neil helps them take on a mysterious crime syndicate, but they soon get in over their heads when an army of mutants is unleashed upon them.

Movie Review:

We need to get this thing out of our chest first i.e. the animation style of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. Instead of being a photo-realistic animation, this latest TMNT adventure is done in a doodle-sketch, 2D/3D kind of way. To simplify, if you love the chaotic, vibrant style of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its sequel then you should embrace this Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg produced, Jeff Rowe’s (co-director of The Mitchells Vs The Machines) helmed and written animation.

You can ignore the 2007 animation and the earlier live-action series because Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem after all is an origin story. We meet the teenage turtles namely leader, Leonardo (Nicolas Cantu), spec-wearing Donatello (Micah Abbey), comedian-wannabe Michelangelo (Shamon Brown Jr) and an always angry Raphael (Brady Noon) on their regular grocery trips at night, away from the humans as advised by their rodent dad, Splinter (Jackie Chan).

As per any human teenager, the turtles yearn for both acceptance and freedom in the real world and they are basically tired of staying hidden in the sewer. When they encounter and befriend a human, April (Ayo Edebiri), they decide the only way for mankind to accept them is to take down Superfly (Ice Cube), a mutated housefly whose evil plan is to mutate all animals and destroy humanity.

Instead of making Shredder and its lame ninja foot soldiers as the villains of the movie, Superfly is actually the adopted “son” of mad scientist Baxter Stockman (Giancarlo Esposito), sort of a slight twist here. The humans incur his wrath by murdering his father and Superfly vows to rid the world of human beings. By pairing the turtles and Superfly together, the story makes an interesting argument over their predicament and identities. Will humans accept the turtles as normal teenagers? Will it be better for the turtles to team up with Superfly instead? What’s there got to lose if Superfly conquered the world?

While the screenplay is downright simple, it did manage to get the intended messages across. Maybe the metaphors are referring to colour and race, who knows. Hidden heartfelt meanings aside, the animation is filled with lots of pop-culture references and trivia. BTS, Avengers, Attack of the Titans, you name it, they got it. The jokes often come fast and furious so you probably need to extend those ears of yours. The filmmakers even include a tongue-in-cheek sequence of training montages from old classic HK martial-arts flicks, one consisting of none other than Jackie himself.

The turtles are voiced by real-life teenagers this time round and their improvisation skills here are top notch. Jackie Chan for the first time voices an animated character with a lot of depth (and dialogue!) and given ample screentime to showcase the endearing, overprotective fatherly figure of Splinter. The voice talents assembled here are more than impressive with Rogen himself voicing Bebop, John Cena as Rocksteady, Rose Byrne as Leatherhead, Paul Rudd as Mondo “Bro” Gecko and Post Malone as Ray Fillet. See what I mean? Mutant Mayhem not only features the usual TMNT gang but also little seen characters from the comic lore.

If there’s one thing to nitpick, it’s the usual messy loud final confrontation between good and evil which Superfly termed as a Godzilla attack. Other than that, this adventure with our favourite kungfu fighting anthropomorphic amphibians is in many aspects a fresh, joyous ride filled with ground-breaking animation style, laugh-out-loud gags and good music tracks.

Stay for the mid-credits for an obvious hint of the sequel’s villain.

Movie Rating:




(Oozing with enough charm and witty banter to reboot the franchise to win over another generation of fans)

Review by Linus Tee


You might also like:


Movie Stills