Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Starring Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery and Edwin Wright
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, an orphaned teen must battle a ruthless warlord to save the girl of his dreams.
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★★★★ review by Elijah Davidson on Letterboxd
Imagine Sam Raimi and James Cameron got together to make a Mega Man movie for a buck twenty-five.
★★★★★ review by DirkH on Letterboxd
There have been many films of late that try to capture the vibe of days gone by, of iconic cinematic eras and in doing so pay tribute to them. There haven't been any that have done this as successfully as Turbo Kid.
A common pitfall is losing yourself in your tribute and going so far overboard that you're almost overindulging in stylistic mannerisms. Trying too hard will only make you come across as desperate. The thing that Turbo Kid does so well (and this is the main reason for me giving it full marks) is being genuine. This is a genuine labour of love. An attempt to not make a tribute to the glorious 80s but to actually make a film from that era. From this genuineness comes passion comes creativity comes infectious fun. Turbo Kid is the real deal, it's as simple as that.
It's pretty amazing what the directorial trio have managed to create with so little means. It looks dated, not cheap, which is exactly the vibe it should give off. The practical effects are truly hilarious and nasty, with an abundance of gore that made me on more than one occasion burst out with laughter. This breathes post apocalyptic 80s flick from its pores, with insane costumes and larger than life villains. Michael Ironside is clearly having a shitload of fun.
At the center though lies the real strength of this film. The two protagonists and the simple love story between them work because Turbo Kid is a great hero to root for. This has a lot to do with a wonderful performance by Munro Chambers as the hero in the making. And then there's Apple. She truly is one of the funnest characters I've seen in quite some time. If ever there was a character that was irresistible, it's Apple. Well conceived, but absolutely brilliantly given life to by Laurence Leboeuf, who gives Apple the perfect balance of quirk and charm.
Turbo Kid is not a perfect film but its unbridled enthusiasm for what its doing deserves a lot of respect and the passion with which this is made deserves recognition.
The fact that it's also completely bonkers only adds to its cause.
★★★★ review by Wesley R. Ball on Letterboxd
This is my Gnomestick!
I don't know if it was the fact that my theater did a double feature with Kung Fury, or the crowd I was with, or possibly both, but Turbo Kid is by far some of the most fun I've had in a theater this year. Neon-lit drink cups in hand with glowstick headbands, we were all cheering throughout both films at the best moments, and Turbo Kid proved to be as delightfully gory as I had hoped it would be.
It's a completely self-aware tribute to classic 80's scifi, taking place in "the future, the year 1997," where a mysterious nuclear fallout has wiped almost all of humanity and the straggling survivors are left to fend for themselves. A lot of elements pay tribute to the Mad Max series, including the insane brutes who chase our protagonists through their journey. Apple is an eccentric blonde who attaches herself to the unnamed protagonist, who eventually dons the nom de guerre "Turbo Kid," in tribute to a comic series he's a huge fan of. Turbo Kid comes across a Power Glove that shoots epic 80's laser beams, lovingly animated in the primitive special effects style of the time.
Turbo Kid is an immensely satisfying gorefest, packed to the brim with intense, edge-of-your-seat action and memorable characters hallmarked by classic physical attributes. Zeus (Michael Ironside), the villain, is a one-eyed menace who hobbles about on a five iron and maniacally turns human bodies into drinking water. Frederic is an Aussie arm wrestler with a past of his own. Apple is a delightfully quirky loner who falls in love with our hero. I feel like Munro Chambers (who played Turbo Kid) could have easily been replaced by Michael Cera and the character would have lost nothing. He emulated the quirky characteristics that Cera displays so well that it almost felt like I was watching a Michael Cera film.
I guess I'm a sucker for 1980's tributes, given how much I ended up loving Turbo Kid. The soundtrack was so spellbinding, and the plethora of stupid 80's tributes made it that much more awesome. The story may be fairly basic, and had this not been a full-on 80's tribute, it definitely would have had no chance of working. Fortunately, the directors use their main draw in a spectacular fashion, and what results is an amazingly fun time. Doing a double feature of this with Kung Fury is a perfect idea, so should you ever come across this film, I recommend watching them consecutively, preferably KF first. It will help you appreciate the complete 80's-gasm that's within this film so much more.
★★★★½ review by bree1981 on Letterboxd
First rewatch of this since I originally seen it at Frightfest almost a year ago and I'm pleased to report it holds up really well. Just full of heart, a cracking soundtrack and so much fun, if you haven't seen this yet it's on Netflix so get on it.
Previous review here, letterboxd.com/bree1981/film/turbo-kid/ if anyone is still on the fence.
★★★★ review by Digital Press on Letterboxd
I love the vibe of Turbo Kid, it’s a pretty spot-on recreation of a sci-fi B-movie. Using an 80’s style of filmmaking, it depicts a post-apocalyptic world (feels very much like the world from the videogame franchise Borderlands) that occurs in the year 1997. An original but 80’s-style soundtrack with a cheesy rock intro and heavy synth scoring effectively back up the action.
As you’d expect from any decent sci-fi B-movie, there are plenty of colorful characters and over-the-top violence here. It’s hard to comment on the acting since you can’t be sure if they’re being intentionally flat at times. I will say that Michael Ironside is perfectly cast as the heavy. The story is fun, unique, and satisfying. It’s very light, something you could pop in at any time for a quick lift to the spirits!
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