Some movies try too hard, some don’t try hard enough and some… Some get it jussssst right. Turbo Kid nails each facet of this love letter to 80’s genre tropes with near-flawless execution on every level. Surely born from the mind of a kid cryogenically frozen in the 80’s, recently thawed, with rich overtones of Mad Max and whiffs of Soylent Green, painted with broad strokes of synth Atari, Turbo Kid picks you up by the scruff of your late-twenties/early thirties neck and shakes the last bits of nostalgia you have loose after staggering through the 90’s and surviving One Direction for the past decade.
Put together in a shockingly competent manner (exec produced by Hobo With A Shotgun’s Jason Eisner) on what had to be a shoe-string budget, this magnificent flick showcases exactly what you can achieve with quality practical effects and makeup in a day and age where CGI rules with an iron fist. The geysers of blood, ropes of intestines and Lego-stacks of severed bodies juxtaposed over a synth score so 80’s Billy Idol called and wants to have sex with it, makes Turbo Kid the most refreshingly creative homage to genre tropes I’ve seen in awhile (maybe since I’ve been in utero).
The film follows Munro Chambers (Degrassi: The Next Generation) as “The Kid”, an orphan living in an underground bunker scavenging assorted shit to trade for water in a post-apocalyptic reimagining of 1997 before he gets caught up in a rebellion against the local evil overlord, and general dick-of-all-trades, “Zeus” (Michael Ironside in another classic role). Inspired by his comic book hero, and in defense of his quirky-girl-with-a-secret BFF, “Apple”, (a fucking delightful Laurence Leboeuf), The Kid dons a scavenged super hero suit and photon power glove to dole out some epic ass whoopery in the name of JUSTICE and OTHER JUSTICE-RELATED THINGS.
Written, directed and produced by Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell (of EMA Films), Turbo Kid takes your usual genre dialogue and dials it all the way up to eleven in a majestic merger of modern ideals and 80’s gems. The script is clever and makes use of all the tools in the genre grab bag without missing a trick. The expert direction is evident with every tone and beat captured with pulpy perfection and panache.
Speaking of perfection, the cast in Turbo Kid was firing on all cylinders, delivering tongue-in-cheek genre camp alongside gleeful gore and witty one-liners. Mad props to Munro Chamber’s “The Kid” for a subtle underdog with some bark that turns into major bite and Michael Ironside’s “Zeus” for a killer, over-the-top, knuckle-cracking, evil-speech-giving, just-won’t die… ing villain. Not to mention Laurence Leboeuf’s “Apple” who had to have been snorting glitter and rainbows while channeling Will Ferrell’s Elf-like joy in life’s simplest pleasures (friendship and no-holds-barred carnage, of course). Lebouef’s energy carried Turbo Kid through a few infinitesimally tiny lags in the action, her “Apple” making even a game of tag seem fresh and innocent in a wasteland filled with the dregs of humanity.
Fist-bumps to the rest of the cast because even the most minor characters brought their A-Game to this gore-tastic thunderdome of delights. Aaron Jeffery’s “Frederic the Arm Wrestler” gets points for being badass while pedaling to battle in a BMX sidecar, Romano Orzari’s “Bagu” for channeling that weasely, selfish and self-serving gypsy trader we all know and love… Last but not least is Edwin Wright’s wordless “Skeletron” who delivered that stoic Michael Meyers-esque psycho hidden behind a creepy-as-fuck metal mask and, assuredly, a metric fuckton of daddy issues. Bonus fun fact: The Kid’s mother and father were played by writers Anouk Whissell and Francois Simard, respectively. Basically, everyone in Turbo Kid was fucking awesome and delivered 3000% above and beyond my wildest expectations.
In summation, Turbo Kid’s expertly crafted comedy/horror homage to 80’s genre tropes will rock your face off with giddy exultations of gore all wrapped up in hilarity, action, and just a touch of blood-spattered romance. An appealing flick for all ages of genre aficionados, Turbo Kid is a no-holds-barred streak though the football field of ridiculously retro entertainment. This flick is, hands down, the best two hours I’ve spent since accidentally making out with a hot guy circa 2008 in a Las Vegas Panda Express… Turbo Kid, a guaranteed (won) ton of fun.