Today we are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, the sequel to the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. That’s right, it has been 25 full years since the release of this fan-favorite film on March 22nd, 1991. Perhaps it’s fitting, or perhaps it was all by design that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows is due for release in just a few short months. Almost 25 years after the release of the first sequel to a TMNT movie, we’re now getting yet another sequel. Sometimes it’s funny how these things tend to work out.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze was notable for several reasons. The movie was released just one year after the first film in the franchise, which ended up becoming a runaway hit at the box office and securing the sequel. It’s almost unheard of to see an untested franchise break onto the scene like this, producing two films within the span of two years. The studios had to know that they were onto something big, but it’s still pretty impressive to note that they managed to pull off this sequel in the span of just one calendar year.
The Secret of the Ooze featured far less physical violence with weapons, as parents were beginning to become concerned that children would violently mimic the actions they were seeing on the big screen. For this reason, much of the fighting action seen in this movie takes place either without weapons, or with items in the area that could be used as weapons. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II also marked the first time that we’d see Ernie Reyes Jr. outside of a suit; the actor performed as a stunt double for Donatello in the first movie, but became his own character as Keno in the sequel.
In addition to Keno’s introduction to the franchise, we also got our first good look at the enemies of Rahzar and Tokka. Any fan worth their salt could tell you that these two were clearly just a different take on the characters of Bebop and Rocksteady, and they weren’t exactly popular with most shellheads. It is perhaps for this reason that we didn’t see much of either character beyond their appearance in this movie. Of course, it doesn’t really matter if you introduce a couple of weird mutant goons in your TMNT movie when you also include a surprise guest appearance from none other than Vanilla Ice!
As many fans will remember, the famed rapper was a huge fan of the franchise and jumped at the opportunity to star in the film as himself. The Ninja Rap may not have much social relevance today, but it was a pretty popular song back in the early 90’s. Heck, there are still fans who get down to the funky fresh beats of Vanilla Ice in his unforgettable performance for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II. We even got to see him humming the tune while stocking shelves full of TMNT goodies in a recent advertisement, which is a clear sign that he’s still got a lot of love for our heroes in a half shell.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze raked in $78.65 million at the domestic box office, making it yet another successful TMNT movie. Of course, it wasn’t as successful as the first movie, but many fans still prefer the sequel to the original. The film was successful enough to encourage yet another sequel, but we won’t talk about that until the time comes to celebrate one of its anniversaries. Hey, the less we have to talk about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, the better!
Rather than ruminate on that spectacular failure, let’s all grab some microwave popcorn, find our copies of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II, and relive the fun we had with this awesome movie one more time in honor of its 25th Anniversary.