TURBO KID (2015)
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Turbo Kid is a delightfully fun homage to the low budget, post-apocalyptic flicks that were abundant in the 80s after the success of The Road Warrior. The film is set, a la a film from the 80s, in 1997 where the world has been turned into a wasteland and now people must struggle everyday to survive. Lone teen ‘The Kid’ (Munro Chambers) is a scavenger who, when not trading junk for water or food, is dreaming of being a superhero like in the Turbo Rider comics he’s found. Soon he may get his wish, as his pretty new friend Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) is taken by ruthless warlord Zeus (Michael Ironside) and Kid sets off to rescue her. With the discovery of some familiar looking battle armor on the way, a superhero may just have been born in the wasteland…Turbo Kid!
Fun homage is written and directed by François Simard with Anouk and Yoann-Karl Whissell and shows these three know their source material well. The film is given the same cheap looking sets and costumes to match the films it pays tribute to, including the old-fashioned looking animation effects and a cast of eccentric and colorful characters. The film also hilariously showers the screen with blood and body parts to the point of blasting right past disgust and straight to chuckles and grins. It’s quite giddy in it’s gore. It has a good time with it’s comic book style violence, as it does with spoofing all the tropes of the post-apocalyptic sub-genre. It doesn’t make a joke out of it, but plays it straight and lets the fun come out of the nostalgia and the over-the-top proceedings in it’s purposely bargain basement setting. We get comic book style characters that use everything at hand as a weapon…the gnome stick being a favorite…robots, mechanical limbs and the fight to control a natural resource, which is water here. Add to that a wonderfully 80s electronic score by Jean-Philippe Bernier, who also did the cinematography and Jean-Nicolas Leupi. It’s a playful reminder of a cheesy sub-genre that also succeeds as being it’s own midnight movie with it’s own identity.
The cast are good and know to play their over-the-top parts straight, but with a wink. Munro Chambers makes a charming and very likable hero as Kid. He’s a noble young man who knows how to survive and bravely steps up to fight the bad guys. Laurence Leboeuf is enchanting as the girl, Apple (a homage to Cannon Picture’s awful futuristic 80s musical, perhaps?), who comes out of nowhere to steal Kid’s heart. She’s feisty, spirited and charmingly eccentric…and has a very interesting secret that Kid soon finds out. Ironside does what he does best and chews the scenery appropriately as the tyrannical, one-eyed villain Zeus. Having been a quintessential 80s bad guy, he is perfect in the part and pays homage to some of his own roles. Also stars Aaron Jeffery as Frederic, an arm-wrestling cowboy who align’s himself with Turbo Kid to take on Zeus.
Turbo Kid is a really fun and nostalgic good time. It pays homage to a sub-genre that was inspired by a classic and was proliferated by low budget film studios such as Cannon Pictures and Charles Band’s Empire. Even more-so, the Italian film studios made dozens of them during the 80s along with a batch of Escape From New York clones. The filmmakers have giddily decided not to pay tribute to The Road Warrior itself, but the cheesy rip-offs it inspired…and the film is all the more fun for it. Would make a great double feature with the recent and equally fun Road Warrior/Dawn Of The Dead mash-up Wyrmwood.
3 and 1/2 VHS cover style Turbo Kids.