Picks and Pans Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Iii

updated 04/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/05/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Elias Koteas, Paige Turco, Vivian Wu, Sab Shimono

As Donatello, Leonardo, Michael-angelo and Raphael would have known if they had listened to Ed Norton, some days it just doesn't pay to leave the sewer. In this third live-action cinematic strike against the Turtles, they are transported by a mystical ancient scepter back to 17th-century Japan, which they find not conducive to comic inventiveness and bad at pizza.

The casting is uninspired. The only one of the Turtles' voices supplied by a recognizable actor is Donatello's, provided by Corey Feldman. The only lively performance is by Wu as the leader of a rebellion against the feudal lord played by Shimono, though her friendship with Michaelangelo hints at a very weird mixed-race romance.

Meanwhile, the setting shuttles between the past and present, where their mentor, Splinter, still encased in his moth-eaten Halloween-reject rat suit, holds forth in crypto-guru fashion. Writer-director Stuart Gillard has nothing to add to the pseudo-hip Turtlish vocabulary of "dude" and "awesome." The comic book and animated incarnations of the Turtles remain far funnier and more inventive. (PG)

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