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Film / Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze

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Go ninja go ninja go!

"Ten flips, now... and remember... go ninja go ninja go!"
Splinter
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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze is the 1991 sequel to the original Ninja Turtles film. It is directed by Michael Pressman from a screenplay by Todd W. Langen. It was released on March 22nd, 1991.

The Foot Clan is back, and back at the helm is Shredder, thought dead by practically everyone. Scarred from his dive into a trash compactor, he is out for revenge. Their numbers may be diminished, but they have something to even the odds. Taking a sample of the waste that birthed the Ninja Turtles from the TGRI laboratory, the Foot has two deadly enforcers in the form of Tokka and Rahzar, a mutated snapping turtle and wolf.

Can the Turtles finally stop the Foot once and for all, or will Tokka and Rahzar's strength be too much?

While it was still a money maker, it garnered some criticism from fans of the first film for toning down the violence and adult themes, and although Jim Henson's Creature Shop still worked on the movie, the costumes and animatronics were considered a little inferior, supposedly toning down the gritty detail to avoid scaring children (they still looked just fine, though). Generally considered more like the goofy cartoon than like the edgy comic, the best example of this being Shredder, who went from being a badass to still a bit of a badass but a little more bumbling. Despite these criticisms, it is still considered a guilty pleasure.

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This movie was also notable for the one-time character Keno—played by Ernie Reyes Jr—a martial artist/pizza delivery boy who provided some assistance for the Turtles after they saved his hide from a group of muggers. He disappeared from the rest of the movies. Tokka and Rahzar were original characters made for the movie as well, but this would not be the last we would see of them. The mutant duo would appear later in an episode of the original cartoon, the video games Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and The Manhattan Project, as well as the Intercontinuity Crossover movie Turtles Forever.

Infamous for the appearance of rapper Vanilla Ice, who (in the context of the movie; it was presumably written ahead of time) came up with a rap almost instantaneously when the fight between the Turtles and Tokka and Rahzar wound up at his gig at a club. It also featured pro wrestler Kevin Nash as Super Shredder, the monster that Shredder turns into after drinking the last vial of the ooze.

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Also the only Ninja Turtles movie made prior to the 2014 reboot to not feature Casey Jones.

Its story is followed by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III.


This film provide examples of:

  • Adapted Out: In the comics, the company that created the ooze was secretly a front for a community of disguised space aliens, the Utroms. There's nothing in the movie to indicate that the TGRI staff are anything other than humans.
    • Although certain dialogues imply that they're more than they seem.
  • Adaptation Name Change: The company's name is slightly tweaked- in the comics, it was TCRI, not TGRI. This is because the "C" stood for "Cosmic", referring to the adapted-out extraterrestrial origin.
  • Agony of the Feet: When Keno enters April's apartment, he blows the Turtles' cover by purposefully stepping on Raphael's visible foot.
  • All Part of the Show: The crowd in the club thinks the fight between the Turtles and the mutants is something Vanilla Ice came up with.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: Invoked by Tatsu. With Shredder gone, he intends to lead the Foot and offers any challenger a chance to beat him and take his place. Quickly averted when Shredder returns and reclaims his position as master of the clan without even having to fight.
  • Awful Truth: In a sense, the revelation of the titular secret: That the creation of the Ooze (and by extension the Turtles themselves) was all a complete accident. While the rest of the team takes it in stride, Donatello is left heartbroken at having his hopes that there was something more or special to their origin dashed.
  • Behind the Black: Probably the only way Shredder could hide from Raphael before making his dramatic reveal to him.
    • Oddly enough, while insulting Tatsu, Raph briefly looked to his right, a second before Shredder appears.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Splinter fires his arrow at the rope to the construction crane holding Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello to rescue them from certain death in the junkyard.
    • Keno kicks away the ooze canister from Shredder's hand so that Perry can retrieve it.
  • Bookends: At the beginning, Shredder's first appearance is his hand rising out of the garbage heap, indicating that he's still alive. At the end, after he gets crushed by a pier, his hand once again rises out of the rubble, only to collapse, indicating that he's finally gone for good.
  • Call-Back: Like in the first film, Leonardo says "Awesome!" as his first line.
  • Canon Foreigner: Tokka, Rahzar, and Keno.
  • Canon Immigrant: Tokka and Rahzar made their way into other TMNT continuities, as well as Super Shredder.
  • The Comically Serious: Similar to the ending of the first film, Splinter scolds the Turtles over revealing themselves, ending his "Ten flips, now!" command with a "Go ninja, go ninja, go!" As soon as they started to flip, Splinter says "I MADE ANOTHER FUNNY! HAHAHAHAHA!"
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Michelan Sisti, Michelangelo's suit actor, appears as one of the men April encounters outside of her apartment.
    • Director Michael Pressman has a brief scene as April's boss Phil at the news station.
    • Mak Wilson, Mikey's animatronic puppeteer, appears as one of the men working at the Dockshore Club.
  • Crowd Hockey: The Turtles try their best to keep a canister of mutagen from falling into Foot hands by playing a game of football.
  • Demoted to Extra: Chief Sterns was a prominent supporting character in the first film, but here he only has one small scene late in the film after Tokka and Rahzar’s rampage.
  • Denser and Wackier: Not to the point of being an outright comedy, but there are definitely more comedic moments than the original film. Plus some of the fight scenes are sillier the way they're executed (see: the fight scene at the beginning with "weapons" like sausage links; the lab fight scene which becomes an impromptu football game).
  • Destination Defenestration: Happens to Shredder after Mikey uses a sound amplifier to magnify a keytar, blasting him out of a window.
  • Double Take: Not just a double take, but a triple take when Keno first sees the Turtles in the background.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Super Shredder, who re-emerges from the waters after drinking the entire canister of ooze in his possession in a desperate attempt to kill the Turtles once and for all. Not only did he Took a Level in Badass, but he also Took a Level in Dumbass—focused only on his targets, he unceremoniously causes the docks to collapse on him by recklessly hitting their foundations while the Turtles just barely escape the destruction.
  • Dumb Muscle: Tokka and Rahzar. When he's kidnapped and forced by Shredder to mutate the two animals, TGRI Professor Jordan Perry alters the mutagen a little so that their intelligence would not increase. As such, when Shredder demands they call him "master," they misinterpret the word as "mama" and hug the bejesus out of him.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: After Freddie gives the mutated dandelion to the Shredder, the latter realizes that whatever caused it to mutate would be useful against the Turtles.
  • Expy: Tokka and Rahzar are original creatures, standing in for Bebop and Rocksteady from the '87 series. Originally, they were supposed to be them, but this was changed.
    • Professor Perry is something of a much more benevolent Baxter Stockman.
    • April's boss Phil is similar to Burne Thompson.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: When they discover that the Shredder plans to turn Tokka and Rahzar loose in Central Park unless the Turtles agree to fight them again, Donnie asks, "How are they gonna avoid all those people?" It's only after he says this that he realizes that Tokka and Rahzar aren't going to avoid the people.
  • Facepalm: Splinter's frustrated reaction over Perry's goodbye message (read by April during her broadcast) naming each of the Turtles.
  • Faint in Shock:
    • Keno faints the first time he meets Splinter.
    • A woman, when Keno said "I learned that from a rat".
  • Five-Second Foreshadowing: While in the junkyard rescuing Raphael, Donatello explains that the Foot will spring a trap for them soon. A few seconds later, they get trapped in a net.
  • Forced to Watch: After trapping the others in the net, Shredder tells a restrained Raphael that he'll finish them first and then him.
  • Heroic BSoD: Donatello, Leonardo, and Raphael go through a collective one when they realize that the Turtles' mutation from the ooze was caused by accident.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: At the end of the movie, which involved the Turtles fighting (and dancing) in a nightclub, in full view of an entire crowd of people, Splinter asks them if they were seen by anybody upon their return home.
    Leonardo: Of course not, Master Splinter.
    Donatello: We practiced ninja.
    Michelangelo: The art of invisibility.
    [Splinter holds up a newspaper with a picture of them on the front cover]
    Splinter: Practice harder.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Happens to the Shredder again when he uses the last vial of ooze to transform into the Super Shredder. It ends up doing him in when the transformation robs him of any sense of reason and he brings the docks down on his own head in an effort to kill the Turtles.
  • I Warned You: When Leonardo and Michelangelo try giving Tokka and Rahzar donuts containing the mutagen cubes, Raphael tells Donatello the plan won't work. Donatello doesn't listen and tells Raphael they will eat anything. Minutes later, when Rahzar crushes the donut to reveal the cubes, Raphael tells Donatello "I told you it wasn't gonna work."
  • Improbable Weapon User: All of the Turtles. They don't use their weapons to attack a single time the whole film, using nothing but improvised weapons: sausage links, yo-yos... you name it.
  • Informed Deformity: After being crushed in a trash compactor, the film shadows out Shredder's mutilated face until he has a new mask forged. Unfortunately the mask actually gives away quite a bit of his face, revealing it to be in pretty fine condition, though now it is Covered in Scars in addition to the scar he already had from Splinter.
  • Internal Reveal: Viewers know early on that Freddie is both a Foot Ninja and one of April's co-workers. She learns the truth late in the movie when he relays a message from Shredder to give to the Turtles.
  • Irony: April picks up all the stuff left around the apartment by the turtles and mutters "The rat is the cleanest one."
  • It's Quiet… Too Quiet:
    Donatello: The perimeter's quiet.
    Leonardo: Yeah, a little too quiet.
    Michelangelo: Come on. [Don takes out two henchmen]
    Donatello: Well, that was easy.
    Leonardo: Yeah, a little too easy. [Raph is tied to a post]
    Donatello: Look, it's Raph!
    Michelangelo: Yeah, a little too Raph. [Mikey gets smacked for being a wiseass]
  • Just Eat Gilligan: When the Shredder has trapped the Turtles in a rope net and is preparing to drop them onto a bunch of sharp objects, they just panic until Splinter frees them instead of Leonardo using his katana swords to cut the ropes. Somewhat justified in that it's logistically pretty difficult to cut yourself out of a rope net from the inside while you're trapped in there with others. Besides, they were expecting Splinter to save them.
  • Killed Off for Real: After surviving the previous film being crushed and sent to a landfill, Shredder dies after trying to take down the Turtles with him in the docks. Adding insult to injury, he dies in his much more powerful Super Shredder form.
  • Kinder and Cleaner: The movie is devoid of profanity compared to its predecessor.
  • Last Grasp at Life: Shredder begins the film by reaching his hand out from a pile of garbage. At the end, he thrusts his hand out from the ruins of the dock that had just fallen on top of him - only to die.
  • Lighter and Softer: Mostly because of the Moral Guardians.
  • MacGuffin Melee: The battle in the TGRI labs between the Turtles and the Foot over a can of mutagen.
  • Magic Pants: Shredder's outfit (cape and all) grows with him when he becomes Super Shredder.
    • Which crosses over into Body Horror when you realize that thanks to the ooze his costume is now a part of him.
  • Moral Guardians: The Turtles rarely use their weapons in combat in this film, as a result of the movie studio attempting to tone down the violence from the previous film, catering to parents complaining that the Ninja Turtles were too violent and encouraging aggression.
  • Non-Indicative Title: Unless we consider the ooze itself secretly existing in the Turtles' world as the secret, the titular "secret of the ooze" is that there is no secret to the ooze.
  • No One Could Survive That!: Early on, Raphael doubts that Shredder could have survived his "half-gainer right into the back of a garbage truck." At the climax, after Super Shredder brings down the pier on all of them, Raphael says this out loud when he sees the hand rise from the wreckage. This is then subverted when Shredder's hand falls limp.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Keno, after beating up three thugs for robbing the stores, only for a lot more to show up (luckily for him the Turtles show up).
    Keno: [still in his martial arts stance] Help?
    [They come at him]
    Thug: You're gonna need it, kid.
    • Donatello in the TGRI laboratory when a Foot Clan member knocks the ooze canister out of his hand.
    • Raph, when the Shredder appears in front of him, after insulting Tatsu.
    Raph: You know pal, if I had a face like yours, I try to make it up for with some sort of a personality. Ha ha ha! [Shredder steps out between him and Tatsu] Shredder!
    • Donatello, Michelangelo and Leonardo when they fall victim to the Foot's trap in the junkyard. And that the Shredder's alive.
    • The Turtles when they see Tokka and Rahzar for the first time.
    • Donatello when Tokka throws him into the house where Perry was captured.
    • The Turtles when they encounter the Foot again and later when they realize that their donut plan didn't work.
    • Shredder when Donatello and Michelangelo use an amplifier to blast him out of the nightclub.
    • The Turtles again when they encounter Super Shredder at the docks.
  • One-Winged Angel: Super Shredder.
    • Clipped-Wing Angel: While he hulked out immensely, he became little more than a rampaging beast and ended up doing himself in.
  • Ornamental Weapon: Due to parental complaints, the Turtles don't use their weapons whatsoever despite still carrying them everywhere and constantly finding themselves in dangerous situations.
  • Parental Bonus: After falling into the Foot's trap at the junkyard:
    Donatello: These nets are very effective and very well-constructed.
    Michelangelo: Yeah, remind me to drop a line to Ralph Nader!
  • Pet the Dog: Shredder decides to keep Tokka and Rahzar around after seeing them lift a bulldozer to the best of their abilities. This proves to be a blessing in disguise for the Foot, since the Turtles get their shells handed to them during their first encounter.
  • Physical Fitness Punishment: Michelangelo is made to do back-flips as a punishment. When Splinter notices that Mike has started just jumping up and down to make it sound like he was doing back-flips, he makes him do more.
  • The Professor: Jordan Perry.
  • Properly Paranoid: While discussing that TGRI created the ooze that mutated Splinter and the Turtles, Splinter states, "If the contents of this canister were not unique, the city may be facing grave danger." Which is precisely what happens when Shredder gets his own sample of ooze, and decides to create his own mutants.
  • Raised Hand of Survival: Played straight at the beginning, when we see the Shredder's hand rise from the garbage. Subverted in the climax, when his hand rises from the wreckage of the dock that fell on him... only to go limp.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: As the heroes watch in horror as Super Shredder destroys the dock, threatening all of their lives, Leonardo helpfully reminds the others that they're turtles, and they jump into the water. Sure enough, they swim to safety easily.
  • Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: For the first half of the movie, the Turtles were unaware that Shredder was still alive, under the impression that the Foot was being led by Tatsu, right up until their encounter with Tokka and Rahzar.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After transforming into Super Shredder, Shredder becomes completely determined to kill the Turtles, by collapsing the entire pier, and not even caring that his actions could kill him as well.
    Leonardo: Shredder! You've gotta listen to reason! You're gonna destroy us all! [gets lifted up by Super Shredder]
    Super Shredder: Then so be it! [throws Leonardo to the ground]
    • Shredder spends the entire movie like this; several characters even call him on it.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Angry after his defeat at the end of the previous movie, Shredder wholeheartedly dedicates himself to exacting revenge upon the Turtles.
  • Running Gag: Splinter ordering the Turtles to give "10 Flips".
  • Sadistic Choice: After having Tokka and Rahzar tear up a street, Shredder has Freddie deliver an ultimatum for the Turtles: face the evil mutants at the construction site tonight or stay in hiding while his mutants rampage through a very crowded Central Park. Leo and Raph note they don't have any other choice but to go to the construction site.
  • Self-Disposing Villain: The Turtles never really fight Shredder head on through the movie. In the final encounter, Shredder drinks the last of the ooze and turns into Super Shredder. But tries to kill the Turtles by dropping a pier on them...and only ends up offing himself. Leo even cites the dangers of what he's doing but Shredder's beyond caring by this point.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Smoke Out: Tatsu and the Foot do this to escape the Turtles at TGRI. Notable because they throw the smoke bomb at the Turtles, which makes a lot more sense.
  • Studded Shell: Having mutated from an Alligator Snapping-Turtle, Tokka has prominent spikes on its shell.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • At the beginning of the movie, Keno spots a robbery in a marketplace while delivering pizza and jumps in to stop it. However he didn't take into account there were a lot more robbers than he accounted for and is visibly worried when the rest of them show up, knowing he's outnumbered. Luckily the Turtles arrive to help even things.
    • While April is fine with letting the Turtles and Splinter stay with them in her apartment, the latter insists they find a new dwelling as he knows sooner or later people are gonna notice more than one person living there. Which is proven when Keno comes to deliver some pizza and notes some belongings of April that she certainty wouldn't use.
      • The reason they're staying with April in the first place is due to the fact their old home's location was discovered by the Foot Clan. Turns out a secret lair loses its appeal when your enemies figure out where it is and can attack you at any time.
    • Despite Raph's claims of having "kicked their butts", it turns out a small number of Foot Ninja were still loyal to Shredder, and chose to run and go into hiding rather than turn themselves in.
      • This also plays into the Foot's status quo in the interim since the first film. With Shredder's presumed death, the loss of their headquarters, and the arrest of their most of their members, the Foot Clan has been effectively crippled as a criminal organization. Had Shredder not clawed his way out of that junkyard, it's doubtful Tatsu — an administrator rather than a leader — would've been able to effectively rally them or to seek vengeance against the Turtles.
      • With nearly all of the old guard arrested, the Foot is also now having to recruit and rebuild their manpower completely from scratch. Nearly all of the Foot Soldiers in this film are thus greenhorns who have essentially just gone through basic training (and thus fare worse against the more-experienced Turtles compared to their predecessors in the first film). Offsetting the Foot's manpower shortage and inexperience is also another factor in Shredder seeking to create his own Mutants.
    • As soon as the Foot reveal themselves, the Turtles quickly choose to leave April's apartment and redouble their hunt for a new lair, not wanting a repeat of what happened last film.
    • Shredder thinks with the ooze, he can make two powerful mutants to fight for him. However, while Toka and Rahzar mutate into bigger monsters, they turn out to have the mindset of babies. After all, as shown in the first film's backstory flashback, the Turtles took a while to develop too after they mutated, so Shredder forgot to take that into account. He does manage to make the most of it at Professor Perry's insistence.
      • A justified instance of Didn't Think This Through. Shredder couldn't take that into account because he doesn't possess the crucial information about the Turtles' own development (and wouldn't know). If Splinter hadn't told April the story in the first movie, she too might have assumed the Turtles mutated entirely formed and developed.
    • In the climax, the Turtles make some anti-mutagen, freeze them into cubes and hide them into donuts in the hope of tricking Tokka and Rahzar into eating them. It seems to work at first, but then Rahzar starts getting suspicious of their goodwill and crushes one of the donuts, finding the cube inside. Even a child might find something's up in a given situation.
    • Though the Turtles get Tokka and Rahzar to eat some of the anti-mutagen, it doesn't take effect right away and Don and Professor Perry realize they need a coolant for it to digest properly which they find in fire extinguishers.
    • Pumped up with mutagen or no, bringing a structure down on top of you is not going to end well as Shredder found out at the end when he tried to drop a dock on the Turtles who survived by jumping into the nearby river (they're amphibious after all). Though for a moment it did look likely when Shredder's hand came out from the rubble... only to fall over lifeless.
    • At the end of the movie, the Turtles try to lie to Splinter that they weren't seen, but are quickly caught out both from the news report from April Splinter just watched and a newspaper reporting of their fight in the night club.
  • Taking You with Me: Super Shredder has no problem bringing down the pier on his head, if it takes out his four hated enemies in the process.
  • Tempting Fate: As He sits down next to Michelangelo when watching April's report, Raphael sarcastically tells off Mikey to stop eating so loud. Unfortunately, his brother takes this suggestion quite literally and crunches the candy bar he's eating right into his ear just to annoy him some more.
    Raphael: "Do you mind? I can still hear outta this one." (gesturing to his left ear)
  • Theme Music Power-Up: Once Splinter rescues the Turtles from Shredder's net, their theme music (not the cartoon theme song, mind you, but their movie theme, a bouncy synth-rock number) kicks in, as they begin to whoop some Foot Clan butt.
  • The Unchosen Ones: The Turtles discover that the creation of the ooze that changed them was purely an accident. Don was not very happy to learn this. He always thought they were special and believes there's got to be more to it. There isn't.
    • Although it was originally intended for the ooze to be alien in origin, like in the comics.
  • Toy Disguise: At the beginning of the film, the Turtles battle the robbers at a toy store. When Donatello comes across a clown doll, this gives him the idea to pose as one to catch the robber off guard.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Fitting their status as Dumb Muscle, Tokka and Rahzar depend solely on their brute strength and durability to fight the Turtles. During their first fight, the Turtles end up running from them, and they only won the second time around thanks to the anti-mutagen developed by Professor Perry.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Even though this installment gets sillier as it goes along, the Shredder attempts to stay as threatening as he was in the first film. One reviewer even remarked that Shredder's character arc in the film seemed to be him being frustrated that his life has basically turned into a cartoon.
  • Villain Decay: The Foot get worse in this film, where they don't even land a hit.
    • Lampshaded when Keno tells the Turtles that the Foot are openly recruiting on the streets to bolster their ranks after the bulk of their forces were beaten by the Turtles and arrested by police in the first film. A lot of them are just freshly trained, so it makes sense.
  • Unfazed Everyman: A couple about to get into a taxi witnesses Tokka and Rahzar's street rampage. The husband expresses concern over this situation and wonders what to do if directly confronted, but the wife deadpans that the mutants can get their own taxi.
  • What the Fu Are You Doing?: Keno spots Mikey's nunchucks in April's apartment. When she tries to convince him that they're really hers, she can only flail them around weakly. Keno tells her to "keep practicing".
  • Willing Suspension of Disbelief: Michael Pressman, who directed the movie, argued this was the key to the live action films' success: You believe them. It's not that the Turtles are real; the kids know they're just guys in fancy costumes, but they pull it off so well that you're not distracted by the suits and can just get into the story.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Because the Foot discovered their lair in the first movie, this movie starts with the Turtles staying at April's apartment until they find a new place.
  • You Look Like You've Seen a Ghost: At the junkyard, Raphael briefly glimpses Shredder from a distance and stares in shock.
    Keno: What? What is it?
    Raphael: Uh, I thought I just saw a ghost.
  • You Watch Too Much X: Judging by the mess he leaves, Leonardo likes to read comic books.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: The Turtles do the "Cowabunga!" high-five celebration after the Shredder's apparent demise— only to have Super Shredder tear the dock out from underneath them.
  • Yuppie Couple: 1/2 of it; April meets a couple.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

At the end of the movie, which involved the Turtles fighting (and dancing) in a nightclub, in full view of an entire crowd of people, Splinter asks them if they were seen by anybody upon their return home.

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