The new episode is a time travel yarn in which the four shell shocked heroes and their pal, reporter April O’Neil (Paige Turco), switch places with five 17th century samurai warriors.
This is all effected with questionable scientific aplomb and a device that resembles a vintage street lamp.
In feudal Japan they become embroiled in a supposedly fierce struggle between two dynasties.
Lord Norinaga (Sab Shimono) seeks to quash the rebel faction led by Mitsu (Vivian Wu) by enlisting the aid of the English mercenary and gunrunner Walker (Stuart Wilson).
Somewhere in the subplot is a “Romeo and Juliet” thread involving Mitsu and Kenshin (Henry Hayashi), Norinaga’s son. However, as he’s been transported to the modern-day turtle lair beneath the IRT, it’s dramatically remote and thin. Also negligible is April’s involvement with Whit (Elias Koteas), a castoff from Walker’s crew who is the spitting image of NYC’s Casey Jones (also Koteas).
Writer/director Stuart Gillard inappropriately paces the action at tortoise speed, creating a high-budget, elongated Saturday morning kids show.
There are intriguing bits of whimsy such as the Asian warrior’s absorption into Manhattan’s hip-hop scene. But rather than being a part of the fabric, these emerge as not very amusing gags.
Virtually every department fires wide. The music is overbearing, the camera and lighting too bright and obvious, and the production design borders on the cheesy. Performances range from competent to just plain embarrassing.