Turbo Kid review
Is this the post apocalyptic homage to 80’s action adventure films we’ve been waiting for?
If it were the ‘80s, this is the movie I would have secretly stayed up late to watch. A Tangerine Dream era soundtrack, goofy biker costumes and a sly wink to the audience that never hits over the head, TURBO KID has all the hallmarks of a great genre homage film that ultimately fell short of my expectations.
I’m a huge fan of homage movies. It’s a genre that finds the comedy in recreating films of an era with humor so dry, James Bond would want it shaken not stirred. LOST SKELETON OF CADAVRA is still one of my favorite movies in this genre.
Stumbling across the trailer while down the YouTube rabbit hole, I instantly obsessed over the movie. Every aspect of it sang to my love of ‘80’s B-movies. It’s the story of The Kid, a lonely orphan in the post apocalyptic world of the far future of 1997. Everything he has learned has come from old, tattered Turbo Rider comics, a cross between Power Rangers and Mad Max. With no water, the world is brutally bullied by a biker gang who control everything. Of course The Kid goes from wishful dreamer to heroic leader as he meets up with a hot, robot chick, a grim cowboy and of course a death masked 2nd in command baddie with a buzz-saw shooting hand. Through his journey, The Kid goes from wanna be to rebel leader to savior.
Munro Chambers’ The Kid brings a delightful seriousness to the part that sometimes bordered on too much moping. While Laurence LeBoeuf shone as Apple, the blindly optimistic android. Frederic AKA The Cowboy played by Aaron Jeffery is nicely gruff and fun as the resident arm wrestling champ. The big bad portrayed by Michael Ironside is everything you want in this role with his icy, malevolent glare, bizarre origins and a calm intent to do evil in every scene.
The low budget is part of the homage that takes its gray, barren exteriors and hodgepodge thrift store sports pads just seriously enough. Yet to its disadvantage the movie stays immutable to the structure of the films it pays homage to, never bolstering itself with surprise adjustments to the genre. I kept expecting some small twist, like everything is in this kid’s head. Also, it is inexplicably and incredibly gory. Every fight scene wallows in gallons of spraying blood. The effect creates an uneven tone of innocent kid fantasy and gormedy. That’s right, I just ‘shipped gore and comedy. Still, there’s a delightful scene with a dismembered torso that is blindingly funny. Aside: Watch it to get that pun alone. And no matter how the blood splashing amuses me, it feels out of place in a movie that wants to be more RUNNING MAN than NIGHTMARE ON ELMSTREET.
The movie is an absolute charmer but a bit bloody as an ‘80’s action adventure throwback that doesn’t quite take you as far into the future as you would like to go.