In a post-apocalyptic future, THE KID, a young solitary scavenger obsessed with comic books must face his fears and become a reluctant hero when he meets a mysterious girl named APPLE. Armed with little more than blind faith and an ancient turbocharged weapon, THE KID learns of justice and friendship and embarks on an incredible journey to rid the Wasteland of evil and save the girl of his dreams.
If you thought the recent post-apocalyptic humdingers Mad Max: Fury Road and Wyrmwood were all kinds of bonkers and all kinds of awesome Turbo Kid is all set to prove that it’s actually GOOD luck that comes in threes. The directing/writing trio, gonzo splatter-meisters François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoan-Karl Whissell have concocted a cult gem waiting to happen by pushing their BMX pedals to the metal to provide a slew of blood-soaked slaughter and seriously wigged-out yet winsome characters.
There’s positively no way to file this movie under any specific genre but its equation could run something along these lines:
A revenge western with BMXs trading places with the horses + the wackiness of Army of Darkness + a sprinkling of romantic comedy + a Mad Max-like proverbial acid rain-decayed wasteland = Turbo Kid.
The recipe’s secret winning ingredient is its die-hard infatuation with the ’80s glory days; an era entrenched in everyone’s memories for its deluge of delightfully deranged and wickedly trashy spectacles. Wearing said era proudly on its sleeve, the resulting aesthetic of the film – particularly props such as the heavily-featured View-Master – are perfectly summed up by Laurence Leboeuf’s character, APPLE: “It’s like a museum of coolness in here.”
The aforementioned trashy ’80s spectacles were packed to the rafters with pumped-up violence and Turbo Kid delivers the goods in tip-top condition. The film is brimming with cunningly executed gladiatorial combat scenes replete with all manner of death devices resulting in some of the most gruesome and sadistic slapstick moments ever put to film. Use of the word slapstick might not resonate with some of you but the directors/writers clearly put their noggins together to come up with some of the most ingenious and macabre kills ever, much akin to the recent – and just as fantastic – short film Fist of Jesus.
The entire cast hits all the right notes with Munro Chambers putting in a superb performance as The Kid, a young comic nerd/scavenger-cum-super hero. That said, the real rule of this roost is his co-star, Laurence Leboeuf, The Kid’s well-meaning new BFF/sidekick, Apple. She comes across as totally bananas when we first meet her but I assure you that nothing will prevent her from becoming the girl of your dreams by the end of the film. Kudos also to Aaron Jeffery as the tough-as-nails bruiser Frederic who ultimately becomes Turbo Kid’s personal mentor when their paths cross.
Turbo Kid, Apple and Frederic vie with the dastardly Zeus, played by Michael Ironside, who puts in a mercilessly evil turn although the ultimate “end of level boss” here is Skeletron (Edwin Wright) who just oozes terror, equipped with quite possibly the most intimidating mask and deadliest weapon ever known to man.
Whilst comparisons to the recent Mad Max film are inescapable, what better than to be mentioned in the same sentence as one of this year’s finest films? But Turbo Kid is a masterpiece in its own right. It packs so much more into its 90 minutes than so many MOR summer blockbusters, and it does so with explosive imagination, kinetic gross-out comedy, and cunningly-devised, over the top performances that fit snugly with the film’s charming absurdity. If any film deserves to become a cult item then Turbo Kid’s supremely inventive bike ride does. It’s already building up some serious buzz and I’m confident this trio of perversely imaginative directors/writers are bound for much greater success. And whilst Turbo Kid holds more than its own as a standalone film, an outcry for a sequel or sequels is certainly impending.
Words: Howard Gorman (@HowardGorman)