Turbo Kid is a fantastic low budget independent movie. The movie is one of the best I have seen all year, and one I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a great campy 80’s action/adventure exploitation film. The movie is not in wide cinematic release, but you can find it on video on demand anywhere. If you have Amazon Prime it is available through their subscription service to stream instantly. Give it a chance if you are a kid of the 80’s and want to watch a campy, surprisingly heartfelt, and total gore fest.
Our story is set in post-apocalyptic 1997. Our hero, The Kid (Munro Chambers), is a scavenger living in the desolate, acid rain soaked, landscape. He looks for things to trade for water and food. He lives in a fallout shelter where he keeps things he has scavenged. He loves the comic book Turbo Rider, and we see him trade his wares to get more issues when he goes to a make shift trade depot. While at the depot we are introduced to Frederic (Aaron Jeffery) local lawman and general tough bad ass. We see him arm wrestling and with a bit of exposition we find he never loses. Not sure if this was a nod to the classic Stallone movie, Over the Top, but it’s what I thought of when I saw the scene. Frederic is classic 80’s hero. He’s big, he’s tough, and he’s Australian. Great nod to the Crocodile Dundee films. Frederic is fighting the main villain Zeus for control of the territory. Zeus (Michael Ironside) is a sociopathic villain who enjoys social niceties. While this tussle is going on our hero, The Kid, meets Apple (Laurence Lebeouf). Apple is an overtly friendly girl who latches onto The Kid and follows/tracks him home.
Apple and The Kid strike up a friendship and it’s this relationship which ties the movie together. Chambers and Lebeouf have fantastic chemistry together and turn in great performances. You buy into their friendship and kindling romance. Their love story is innocent and sweet. It makes the movie touching in the midst of the over the top fantastic gore used in the film. Their story and friendship had a twist I wasn’t expecting and made the film more enjoyable for me personally.
During the course of the movie The Kid finds a Turbo Glove (Think Nintendo Power Glove that works) which shoots out energy and kills on impact. The Kid assumes the title of his hero but as Turbo Kid and not Turbo Rider. He does this and goes to save Apple from Zeus. When he is donning his costume it has an 80’s montage vibe. The music throughout the movie heightens the nostalgia. It is classic 80’s music from the opening title sequence to the end credits. Loved it and would consider buying a soundtrack if they released it. The music and the practical gory effects roots the movie in classic nostalgia from the 80’s.
The gore, the glorious gore. This movie had so many great moments of over the top filthy heinous deaths. People losing their heads, arms and guts. Blood squirting everywhere, much akin to the restaurant scene in Kill Bill vol. 1. The practical effects are extremely well done, and I loved watching bodies explode on screen. This movie is definitely low budget, but the directors put painstaking effort into the action scenes and deaths. They are wonderful and I laughed and applauded while watching the film.
Along with the gore the directors did a good job visually of capturing a desolate wasteland with a lower budget. The world they show seems lonely, and has a Mad Max vibe. No it’s not perfect, but with a lower budget they did a great job of capturing the essence of an empty world. What is great about the movie is that there is more to the world than on the surface. There is a backstory and history to the environment which could be explored. Yes I’m clamoring for a Turbo Kid 2.
While I unabashedly love this movie, and will be able to watch it many times, it does have a few minor issues. The bike chase scenes are one. They didn’t quite capture the intensity I thought they could. Maybe they did the best with their budget, but I would have liked just a bit more tension in the scenes. Also the flashbacks where a bit misplaced. I would have much rather started the movie with this scene, rather than having it spliced through the movie. I get what they were trying to do with some non-linear storytelling, but I would have preferred just a straight prologue to the current story. The only other minor quibble is the very last ending resolution. It was bit too neat for me, but that’s usually how 80’s movies turn out. I think they could have left it out and it still would have felt like a happy ending.
Turbo Kid is well directed and acted for a movie trying to be over the top and campy. It’s the surprisingly heartfelt love story which makes the movie a joy to watch. If you want to watch a fun throwback to classic 80’s action adventure find Turbo Kid. Buy it, rent it and stream it. This movie deserves a cult classic status and I will be buying it whenever it’s available on blu ray. Hopefully it gets talked about and we start seeing more from the directors Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell.
My Rating: Must Own
Have you seen Turbo Kid? Did I peak your interest? What are some of your favorite action/adventure movies from the 80’s?