Director: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell. Starring: Laurence Leboeuf, Munro Chambers, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Edwin Wright. Canada (Quebec), New Zealand, 2015. Budget: $60,000. IMDb: 6.7. My rating: 3/4. An eccentric childish post-apocalyptic sci-fi with lots of gore.
– I thought all robots were evil.
– Depends on the model.
(The Kid and Apple are getting to know each other)
– You want to see something cool?
– I always want to see something cool.
(a conversation between The Kid and Apple)
“Turbo Kid” is a faithful homage to the 80-s, a naïve love story occasionally slipping into a gory bloody post-apocalyptic trash. Sounds dorky? Well, it looks dorky too, and is entertaining as hell from the first frame.
The film doesn’t hesitate to borrow everywhere it can, but you don’t blame kids at the nearby playground for copying chases and fighting they saw on the TV screen, do you? Especially if they have a super-blaster-glove and BMX bikes.
There is a lovely girl with pink hair, Apple, who acts pretty lunatic but is so irresistible. She is hiding a secret. Laurence Leboeuf easily steals all the attention and I still have no idea how she managed to look like a 17 year old teen when in fact she was 30. Great role!
Then meet The Kid with his super blaster glove. His parents were killed by the villain. Now The Kid wants to revenge the villain and protect the girl with pink hair. Munro Chambers is a perfect nerdy brave teen hero coming straight from the adventure movies of the 80-s.
Don’t forget about the macho cowboy, who earns a living by arm-wrestling. He looks rough, but his eyes can’t hide a kind heart. Aaron Jeffery takes the best of the westerns, early Guy Ritchie movies and Indiana Jones.
Finally there is the villain, Zeus, who is the incarnation of evil himself. He is just bad. Very bad. Evil. Michael Ironside has been playing all kinds of villains for the last 40 years (Scanners, Total Recall), so imagine all the malice accumulated.
The production. ”Turbo Kid” had an extremely low budget – around $60,000 (!) and was funded through Indiegogo, but it’s not ashamed to turn it to an advantage here. You won’t see many cars, but lots of BMX chases; not many real guns, but some weapons that seem to be coming straight from the video games. A warm synth soundtrack in the best tradition of late 80-s provides fuzzy nostalgia feeling. The film was a co-production between Quebec (Canada) and New Zealand. It was received surprisingly well by both critics and public (”Lazer Team”, that was fooling around on a similar ground performed worse). Here‘s also a good analysis of the movie and retro-mania moods.
“Turbo Kid” is an odd movie. Mainly it’s due to the combination of things that normally don’t go together – it’s a glimpse of the 80-s, saturated with various references, but has an exaggerated amount gore that at times may feel a little bit out of place for somebody. You’ll see one character’s intestines the bicycle wheel. Literally.
But that’s for sure not the main attraction and it wasn’t intended to be such. “Turbo Kid” is childish and eccentric, but it’s a movie with kind heart, making me think more of the “E. T. the Extra Terrestrial” than ”Mad Max”, even though the latter may seem a more faithful reference point. Laurence Laboeuf was a nice discovery, she expresses perfectly the overall spirit – it’s a childish and eccentric pop story.
Worth watching? If nothing could take you away from the screen when you were 10, let it be video games or sci-fi movies, then you just have to watch “Turbo Kid”. It’s dorky, lovely and eccentric movie with so many ridiculous things to offer. The budget constraints are easy to see and the locations are a little bit dull, but what helps the movie to shine is that it’s not just a mere collection of quotes brought together for fun (like “Kung Fury”), but a creative and engaging story on it’s own.
Watch also: ”Super”, “Defendor”, ”Lazer Team”, ”Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”, ”Mad Max”, ”Kung Fury”.
P. S. Following the success of the film, a short music prequel was shot. Definitely have a look at it if you enjoyed he movie. The sequel is currently in development.