Turbo Kid

Turbo Kid (2015) is essentially a homage to 80s action films with added practical gore/splatter effects about ‘the Kid’ who decides to stand up to a sadistic warlord, Zeus (Michael Ironside) . Set in 1997 in a post apocalyptic alternative future, the film makes no pretense at being realist, yet the world it depicts displays a fairly robust internal consistency. This has the added benefit of referencing 80s trends and fashions. As one of many examples culture is in a kind of permanent stasis following a devastating nuclear war and it makes sense that people might ride bmxs if there was also an oil/petrol production crisis as one of the outcomes of that war, plus you get some rather absurd scenes with dangerous folk pedalling undersized bikes.

Films need more poster art like this.
Films need more poster art like this.

The story is formulaic but this doesn’t constitute a flaw and in fact contributes to the theme of 80s sci fi/action flicks which underscores the film’s basic premise, essentially you have a main antagonist, Zeus vs two protagonists. The humour, production values, characterisation and inventiveness save it from being boring. Given the low budget it’s quite amazing that the directors, François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell managed to produce something that holds so well together, although I did notice that one of the torso props is re-used, However, taken into consideration with the film’s sense of cheesy aplomb, this isn’t necessarily a flaw.

The cg in the movie is also remarkably effective in encompassing the vibrant, multicoloured aesthetic one might associate with 80s films. Laurence LeBoeuf puts in an exemplary performance as Apple, conveying an endearing wide-eyed sweetness and quirkiness that really made me root for her. Michael Ironside also gave a solid, humourous performance as Zeus while Aaron Jeffrey managed to pull off an Indy/post apocalyptic cowboy impression as Frederic.

Laurence Le Boeuf as Apple.
Laurence LeBoeuf as Apple.

The film isn’t a horror film per se though it has elements of it in terms of the gore. I think this and the numerous references to 80s action flicks, toys and electronic games are aimed at a specific niche audience, probably people in their late 20s to 40s. Where the film succeeds is in successfully combining the apocalypse setting with a melancholic nostalgia. For better or worse the location is symbolic of the aftermath of a cultural epoch, the world has moved on and we have people like the Kid scavenging for novelty items, memorabilia etc amongst the detritus. At the same time the setting harks back to those wastelands and alien worlds presented in 80s films within the sci fi genre, I can’t name any off the top of my head except for Mad Max.

There is a strong sense of fun in Turbokid which is evident in its humour, action sequences and characters. Le Matos also provides a highly atmospheric , glistening soundtrack replete with Vangelis-esque synths which in its most notable moments combines a perfect mixture of nostalgia, yearning and sadness. This film was so good that I would like to see a Turbo Kid trilogy and they should also bring Apple back as she was a stand out character.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *