Turbo Kid is nostalgia on turbo drive and it’s a great ride…


Director: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell

Writers: François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell

Featuring: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Edwin Wright

It is 1997, the world is a post-apocalyptic wasteland and only a few rag-bag bunch of survivors dot the landscape. One of them is young lad who spends his time on his own, scavenging, avoid the local warlord and looking for Turbo Rider comics. Then one day he meets Apple, and everything changes and not necessarily in a good way…

It is to the makers of Turbo Kid’s credit that within ten minutes of the start of the film I was checking the sleeve for the year the film was made. It was 2015 not 1985. This truly was a well-crafted knowing love letter.

Right down to the cheesy synth pop movie to the style of shots, even the acting, Turbo Kid just shouted 1980s from the get-go. Often with this type of pastiche the story does not hold up, the acting can be creaky, yet with Turbo Kid, the joke never wore thin.

The hilarious and so spot-on grand guignol of spurting blood, flying heads and suspiciously rubbery looking intestines were enough to shock when they suddenly popped up or even gushed out. Yet they still make you laugh with their gloriously over-the-top and senseless ultraviolence. The action was the sort of thing that would have made the 80s school kid you were squeal with pleasure and then tell all in the playground the next day.

At 91 minutes running time Turbo kid didn’t outstay it’s welcome either. although I have to say my attention was just starting to fray near the end even though the goodies, baddies and in-betweens were lining up to meet their ends, escape or be the hero.

As far as the story goes it is nonsense, just as it should be but one point I particularly loved was in this dystopian future everyone rides push -bikes, which makes sense to me, do you know how to refine petrol? Everything else is in there, revenge for the murder of a mother, an unexpected reveal for a character, the cool mysterious stranger and the evilest of evils the one and only greatest. Michael Ironside. The tropes of being a hero to yourself loving a friend who initially you mistrusted and winning the day with a sacrifice are ticked off in a competent and fun way. If you loved this type of film as a youngster, you’ll love Turbo kid.

The acting a from mainly unknown cast, to me at least, (I apologise to any Kiwis and Canucks who know them well), play their roles to perfection, the two younger protagonists Munro Chambers and Laurence Leboeuf playing Turbo Kid and Apple respectively do very well in particularly tricky roles. They have to play their pivotal characters completely straight and yet somehow give a knowing wink to is the audience, for me, this audience, it worked. Leboeuf in what could be an irritating presence had enough skill to make Apple daft, annoying, endearing, fun and ultimately tragic.

Some work there just in that one role.

Munro is Turbo Kid and his charisma carries past any flaws on the story or script. Michael Ironside and Aaron Jeffery are both experienced enough to carry their less nuanced characters with some ease and to wring out as much fun as their respective roles and presence in the film allowed.

If you into nostalgia from you misspent youth (1980s) Mad Max style apocalypses mixed in with BMX bandits channelling kung-fu kids with futuristic superheroes – this is the movie for you. The thing is it sounds awful but if you watched this films in your early teens you will get a kick from surprisingly well made and well-acted tribute.

Turbo Kid is fun and daft, like the original films, in fact scrub that, some of them were not this much fun.

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