PLOT: It is 1997 and most of mankind has become a distant memory. The world has turned into a BMK riding society hell bent on survival at all cost. Yet when a teen simply known as “The Kid” discovers the remains of one of his idols, the comic book hero “Turbo Man,” he takes his suit and begins his quest for justice along with a strange young woman he has met on his adventures.
REVIEW: Creating a feature film that is drenched in nostalgia can be a tricky thing. Oftentimes it diminishes the quality leaving the viewer wanting to watch the real thing, as opposed to a filmmaker presenting his mishmash memory. And then there is TURBO KID. Directed by not one, but three talented directors including François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell, this ode to BMX racing and post-apocalyptic nightmares is a wildly entertainingly comedic thrill ride. As gory and violent as this is, it is done with such enthusiasm and love for the Eighties culture that you can’t help but entertain in the joyfully bombastic proceedings. There is much to love in this break from your average summer blockbuster, and I recently had the pleasure of taking in this fun flick at Sundance Next Fest right here in Los Angeles.
Taking place in the post-apocalyptic future of 1997 - yeah, it’s that kind of movie - the world has been destroyed with only a few survivors. The rugged terrain is filled with BMX bikes and a mishmash of baddies as well as a teenager looking to survive. The Kid (Munro Chambers) attempts to make it out alive anyway he can - yet he discovers a calling when he finds the remains of one of his idols, the legendary “Turbo Man”. Things get even more dangerous for the teen when he meets an extremely peppy girl named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf in an absolutely lovely performance). The two end up facing off against a super bad dude named Zeus (the great Michael Ironside) who is intent on destroying everyone and everything in his path. TURBO KID is part NIGHT OF THE COMET and part MAD MAX, and it presents some serious retro vibes in an engaging way.
Considering this a very short film, the plot is not terribly elaborate. You have The Kid who is ultimately going to have to go mano to mano against Zeus. You have a ton of BMX bikes, and some pretty brutal scenes of butchery. Yet the gore is handled in a decidedly tongue in cheek fashion, especially when it comes to the final battle. Honestly, this may be the most gruesome fun since Peter Jackson brought us DEAD ALIVE and BAD TASTE. And as ridiculous as it gets, there is an absolute love here that keeps a smile on your face throughout. And the fun is had simply because the filmmakers and those in front of the camera are well aware of the kind of film they are making. This is a blatantly goofy flick that isn’t afraid to take things too far.
Aside from the slim plot, the lead actors are completely able to bring it all to life. Munro Chambers as The Kid, gives his character the perfect blend of aw shucks and kick ass passion needed. And not surprisingly, Ironside is enjoying the hell out of his villainous Zeus. That final sequence is so damn entertaining that you may find yourself laughing out loud while grimacing from the icky factor. It seems that perhaps THE EVIL DEAD franchise added a little inspiration to the mayhem. And then there is Laurence Leboeuf who is utterly delightful here. She is comically annoying for our hero The Kid, but just like him, we end up falling for her charms as we learn more about who Apple really is. This is a very talented cast that happens to get exactly what the filmmaking team are trying to accomplish.
If a wildly exaggerated post-apocalyptic world that seems to have gotten stuck in the Eighties doesn’t appeal to you, then you may want to skip this. For the rest of us however, TURBO KID is a ferociously fun throwback to a time when B-movies went way over-the-top without a single care. The plot isn’t much but there is a lot of fun to be had in this deliberately goofy bloodbath of a movie. The music is drowned in synth and the references are wonderfully retro. This is the film that may appeal to a specific audience, but those willing to take this ride will be in for a major treat. It’s the end of summer, and if you’d like to rinse your cinematic palate with something special, then this is for you. And bring a friend because this is the type of movie you’ll want to laugh about well after it ends.
TURBO KID opens this Friday in limited release as well as VOD. You can check out the film's official website here at www.Turbo-Kid.com.