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Review: Turbo Kid (Sundance 2015)

Turbo Kid (Sundance 2015)
7 10

PLOT: It is the year 1997. Mankind has been mostly obliterated, and the few survivors try to survive the radioactive wasteland. Enter “The Kid” (Munro Chambers) who stumbles upon the remains of famed superhero “Turbo Man.” Donning his super-suit, “Turbo Kid”, along with a mysterious girl (Laurence Leboueuf) takes on the evil Zeus (Michael Ironside) and his army of savages.

REVIEW: There should be a warning before TURBO KID reading “those without a sense of humor need not apply.” Adopting the budget-conscious and now hip VHS aesthetic, TURBO KID is an enthusiastic, heartfelt tribute to eighties junk cinema. I'm sure it would do Charles Band proud in that there's not a second in the eighty-six minute running time where TURBO KID takes itself seriously. Thank god.

Clearly shot on a shoestring, TURBO KID is directed by no less than three people, Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell (who all share screenwriting duties). In many ways, this Canadian micro-budget grindhouse outing feels like a companion piece to Jason Eisener's (who exec produced) HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. Who knew Canucksploitation would ride again?

Set in a kind of eighties-style post-apocalyptic 1997, TURBO KID takes a page from all the gloriously bad MAD MAX clones we were bombarded with throughout the decade (many from Italy) with the added bonus that this one is supposed to be cheesy. In about as big a get as Rutger Hauer was for HOBO, the filmmakers were able to nab none-other than famed eighties-tough guy (and proud Canadian) Michael Ironside, fitting as he happened to play the bad guy in SPACEHUNTER: THE FORBIDDEN ZONE, which is likely something everyone involved checked out before shooting began. Ironside chews the scenery and seems to be having a ball as the one-eyes baddie, proving he hasn't lost a beat from his V/TOTAL RECALL days.

Being such a deliberately cheesy pastiche, TURBO KID likely won't be for everyone, but it's helped by the charismatic lead performance by young Munro Chambers, who seems totally in on the joke – something a lot of actors his age might not have gotten. The same goes for his co-star Laurence Leboeuf as his chatty female companion, who joins him on his BMX-riding scavenging adventures. Along the way, expect plenty of walkmans, VHS tapes, rubix cubes and more, all set to a fun synth score that would have sounded right at home in TRANCERS.

My only issue with TURBO KID is that the premise winds up being just a bit thin to sustain close to ninety minutes, with a couple of slow gaps. Luckily, these sections don't last long, with TURBO KID exploding into a gory orgy of hilariously over the top violence every ten minutes or so. The sight of Ironside's army of savages riding BMX bikes (everyone rides one here) is an image that never gets old, and if this is your kind of thing TURBO KID is a lot of fun and makes the perfect midnight movie or VOD rental for a party night with friends. It's all good fun, and the Sundance crowd seemed to have just as good a time with it as I did.

Source: JoBlo.com

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