Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown DVD ReviewJune 2, 2015
Ever since Nickelodeon picked up the license for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles property and produced the smash-hit 2012 revival, fans have hoped that the 2003 series would get a re-release. That day has finally arrived, with Nick offering up two volumes of the show with three episodes each. Here we’re taking a look at Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown, available on DVD June 9th.
“Return To New York, Pt. 1” begins with the Turtles, Splinter, Casey and April cautiously returning to the underground sewer lair after a previous battle with the Shredder. Oroku Saki and the Foot Clan believe the Turtles to be vanquished after an explosion at April’s, and Leo and Raph come to the realization that this could have its advantages – like the element of surprise. They come up with a plan to infiltrate the Foot Clan headquarters, with the aid of a powerful, mystical sword that was taken from the Shredder. This first episode of NYC Showdown has lots of great action, as the Turtles battle invisible Foot soldiers, Raph commandeers a hi-tech flying gadget from the Foot’s armory, and the gang comes face to face with some grotesque, mutated Shredder clones.
“Return To New York, Pt. 2” continues right from the ending of Part 1, with the Turtles still in a heated battle with the mutant Shredder replicas. The entire team must work together to overcome these odds, with Splinter joining the action and April providing hacking and intel support to help lead the gang to Shredder’s lair. It’s certainly no cakewalk getting there – the Turtles run into plenty of traps along the way, as well as mystical guardians representing the five elements that Master Splinter must dispatch with the help of Shredder’s powerful blade. And by the time they finally reach the big guy and take down his team of goons, Baxter Stockman makes his presence known, looking to take down both Oroku Saki and the Turtles with his gigantic robot suit.
The final episode on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown, “Return to New York, Pt. 3”, is packed with wall-to-wall action from start to finish. The Turtles must team up with Shredder if they hope to take down Baxter Stockman’s enormous mechanical weaponry, and the ensuing battle lasts for almost half the episode. Defeating Stockman’s mech suit takes a mix of not only brute force between the Turtles, Splinter and Shredder but also Donnie’s intellect. As soon as Stockman’s robot is defeated, it’s right back to battling between the Shredder and the Turtles, as they fight for control over the mystical Sword of Tengu. The Guardians pop in to help the Turtles out and keep the sword away from Oroku Saki, and eventually it comes down to a one-on-one test of strength between Leo and Shredder, which ends dramatically when Leo decapitates (!) his metallic foe. It’s soon revealed that Shredder is somehow still alive, as before the closing credits he’s seen picking up his separated head and putting it back on his body. So there’s either something supernatural at work here, or Shredder is some kind of robotic creation in this series. When Leo goes to check on the injured Splinter after the battle is won, he’s nowhere to be found… the ol’ lovable rat sure seems to get lost a lot in this series.
Overall, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: NYC Showdown is another solid retro release from Nickelodeon, yet these collections have their flaws. Each DVD set so far only features three episodes (with no extras), and the episodes have not been released in order, meaning that if you’ve never watched this particular Turtles series before you will feel very lost and confused. These compilation sets are fine for a series like Regular Show, where each episode is self-contained story-wise, but there are plenty of unexplained plot threads and unfamiliar characters here which hampered my enjoyment while viewing this collection. That said, the animation is fantastic, the action is engaging and the humor doesn’t disappoint. I’m hoping that eventually Nickelodeon will re-release each season in a complete set, so newcomers to this show will get to enjoy it as it was meant to be watched, in the order it originally aired.