A post-apocalyptic 80s slanted film might seem like a weird combo to you, but if you think about it long enough you would agree that it is a marriage made in movie heaven. This Canada-New Zealand co-production is taking the Fantasia film festival by storm. How could one not love it over-the-top blood splattering, cheesy production values, 80s synthesizer score, and the fact that Canadian Michael Ironside is the lead baddie. This is Mad Max if the director was either high or drunk and really didn’t have a budget to speak of. If you don’t see it at Fantasia then make sure you do when it gets released in this province in August.
Surviving on his own in this (kinda) future of 1997/post-apocalyptic world in which most of it is a water poor wasteland is quite an accomplishment for The Kid (Munro Chambers – from television’s Degrassi: The Next Generation). Alone since his parents were killed when he was still a young boy, The Kid has had to develop plenty of survival skills in order to survive in this harsh world. A solitary scavenger who is obsessed with the comic book series Turbo Kid and dreams of being a hero like him.
Most of the survivors look like characters out of the film Mad Max in that there are a lot of masks and arms with saws on the ends of them. It is a part of the world in which the eyepatch wearing baddie, Zeus (Michael Ironside – Total Recall, Top Gun), rules through violence and fear. Zeus is continuously on the hunt for the most precious of commodities – clean water. He will do anything, including mulching down human bodies, to get his hands on some.
Zeus has made the mistake of taking the brother of tough guy/arm wrestling champ/cowboy Frederic (Aaron Jeffrey – The Interview, X-Men Origins: Wolverine). Frederic and his posse are going after Zeus when The Kid and his new eternally positive and energetic friend Apple (Laurence Leboeuf – from television’s 19-2) get caught up in it. It is going to be your typical good vs. evil battle with The Kid finding out if he has what it takes to be a real life hero.
Survival of the fittest is the usual route that post-apocalyptic films take and while that is somewhat part of Turbo Kid it is in the background behind the story of a young teen reluctantly realizing he has what it takes to be a hero. Now that makes it sound like a serious drama and Turbo Kid is the furthest thing from a drama. It is a crazy, wild, silly comedy/action/splatter film that is a nice nod to the sci-fi action films of the 80s.
How could you not fall in love with a film in that features those tacky gnome statues used as a weapon, BMX bikes, a Sony Walkman, cassette tapes, arm wrestling, tons of obviously fake blood, and in which every song in it sounds like it was written by Survivor of “Eye of the Tiger” fame? There is plenty to love here. First off is that it doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is – silly and incredibly bloody. But even the blood and violence is hilarious because it is so over the top and phony looking. Not many films can make you laugh when a person is cut in half or is killed by his ripped off mandible being jabbed into his skull. It takes a certain kind of vision and talent and the trio of directors of this film have that in spades.
If you were alive in the 80s then there will be plenty of nostalgia attached to the watching of this film. It just has the feel of low budget films from that era. Chock full of references from that era you cannot help but smile as you are watching it. It is the future but refers back to a time when technology was in no way near what we have going on today.
A highly enjoyable film with a rather nonsensical story that doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what it is – a good time. Running at an economical 89 minutes it does not allow you to get tired of its kitschy ways or low production values. A film that just wants to entertain. A fantastic film to check out with your friends late at night that will get you amped up so much that you’ll have a hard time coming down.