Recommendation: Turbo Kid
Be A Hero!
The post-apocalyptic is a fun idea to conceptualize in film, isn't it? From the iconic Mad Max series, A Boy and his Dog, The Road and more, we see how humanity struggles to survive, how desperate people can be and how people try to cling onto something for hope when all seems lost. It is a form of escapism for us where we imagine how we would live if there was a deadly virus that wiped out humanity or if the nuclear bombs dropped on us. But that's not to say we cannot have a little bit of fun in the wastelands, doesn't it?
The 2015 release Turbo Kid is a superhero comedy that was written and directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell and tells the story of 'The Kid', a comic loving teen turned superhero who teams up with others to fight a tyrannical warlord in an alternative universe where water is scarce. Now from the description alone, it sounds like ninety percent of all post-apocalyptic movie imaginable. Which, while yes the movie does have a lot of the most well known tropes of the genre, it still creates an engaging, fun and bloody experience that manages to encapsulate the 1980s.
The story, an alternative 1997 where water has become a scarce commodity and people are struggling to survive. The movie follows 'The Kid' (Munro Chambers), a young man in love with comic books, in particular a superhero known as 'Turbo Rider'. After he meets a young woman named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) and discovering the armor and weapons of the real Turbo Rider, he fights against the tyrannical Zeus (Michael Ironside) and Skeletron (Edwin Wright). Along the way, he will also team up with an arm wresting champion cowboy Frederick (Aaron Jeffery) who acts as his reluctant partner and mentor figure.
Although the movie has a lot of tropes that can be found throughout the genre, Turbo Kid still creates an original, creative story that is an open love letter to the eighties. The movie doesn't over explain how the world is or how their society works, using the visuals to help tell the story. An example of this is, there are no cars in this movie as all of the characters get around on their BMX bikes. We never get an answer to why there are no usable cars. It is left to the audience's imagination. The writing overall is great as well as I found myself laughing at a lot of the jokes throughout the entire movie. There writing is also kept well-trimmed, with no down moments or stalling, keeping the audience engaged throughout the entire movie.
The characters in this film are great, each of them having their own arcs and motivations, making them a treat to watch for the entire movie. All of the actors work well off of each other and have a natural chemistry that makes it enjoyable to watch. Munro Chamber as 'The Kid' is a well made character that has genuine growth and development over the course of the movie going from reluctant scavenger to eventual hero. Laurence Leboeuf's Apple is fun to watch on screen from her first appearance, where she gives off the impression of a tweaked out Jerrica of Jem and the Holograms mixed with a manic pixie dream girl. Watching her play with her weapon (a garden gnome duct-tapped to a stick, a gnome stick if you will) is funny, especially when she cries out "This is my gnome stick!", a nice reference to Army of Darkness. Aaron Jeffery nails the role of a rough around the edges cowboy who is thrown into a small war of attrition against Zeus. Michael Ironside's performance of the overlord Zeus is also a treat to watch; you can tell that he is enjoying the opportunity to play an over the top villain.
From the get-go, you know what kind of aesthetic this film is going for. The opening scene of The Kid riding on a BMX bike, listening to an eighties rock song 'Heart of Thunder' as the neon title flashes on the screen. You can see elements from other films that the writers and directors drew influence from such as Mad Max and BMX Bandits. The costuming, set designs and gore effects bleed (forgive the pun) personality and style that makes the film stand out on its own. The gore by itself is over the top and plentiful as throughout the movies, bodies explode, wounds spray blood everywhere almost as if it was Kill Bill. The kills in the film are also creatively done in ways that you would not see in most other films such as gory explosions, literal body Jenga and more.
The cinematography and camera work in this film is gorgeous as well, with smooth transitions and well cut action scenes that always give you a clear view of the action. The film's soundtrack also helps to bolster the film's action and dramatic scenes. The heavy synthesizer based songs help the film's eighties aesthetic and helps to create the film's personality.
Turbo Kid is many things; bombastic, gory, over-the-top, funny, exciting and more. A love letter to the eighties that bleeds personality and charm, it is a must watch and a classic that should be sitting on your DVD/Blu-Ray shelf. A sequel is being developed for this movie and if it is anything like the first one, you will know that I will be one of the first to see it.
Turbo Kid is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Tubi, Crackle, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube TV, Vudo and other streaming services.