Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell
2015. Not Rated, 95 minutes.
A few months back, I was over at Mario’s site, Two Dollar Cinema, and read a review for something called Turbo Kid. If you’ve never been by his site, do yourself a favor and check it out. Dude is hilarious. If you have then you know what’s up. I say this with full confidence that he’ll actually read this, thus earning me some cyber brownie points, if that’s such a thing. Anyhoo, when I finished reading his review, I knew that it was right up my alley and left him a comment vowing to watch it. As us bloggers always do, he replied that he was waiting to see my review. Within a week I really did watch it. I even sent him a Tweet telling him so. Then stuff happened and I never got around to writing about it. I sat down to do just that about a week ago, aaaannndd, said ‘screw it.’ I needed to watch it again. Okay, I didn’t need to watch it again, but I damn sure wanted to. So I did. I had the rare Saturday afternoon where the house was all mine for a few hours, at least. Plus I didn’t feel like doing what I’m doing now, typing up a blog post. Perfect.
Before I even get to the actual premise, I have to tell you what made me want to watch it in the first place. Stick with me. It’s a movie made in 2015 as if were an early/mid 80s movies about a post-apocalyptic 1997. Maybe that doesn’t do it for you, but I got giddy just typing that sentence. This is the stuff of the straight-to-cable-action-sci-fi dreams of my youth. The kind where you wake up and wonder why your Fruit of the Looms have a little pulp on them. Not that that ever happened to me, teehee. Let’s move on. The story centers on The Kid (Chambers), a loner who goes scavenging for everything he has, including food. We quickly find out dude is really into “Turbo Rider” comic books and treasures every one he finds. One day he finds something else, an annoyingly happy girl named Apple (Leboeuf) who, more or less, forces him into friendship. There’s also a guy named Frederic (Jeffery). He’s the local badass that you definitely don’t want to arm-wrestle. Finally, there’s Zeus (Ironside). He’s basically like Joe from Mad Max: Fury Road. He pretty much runs things which includes having control of the water supply. Of course, the world is running out of water and what’s left doesn’t look fit for human consumption. It all comes together because Zeus kills Frederic’s brother and Frederic wants revenge. The Kid and Apple happen to cross paths with Frederic and get caught up in all this when Apple and Frederic are captured by Zeus. The Kid needs to rescue Apple, but how. It’s a good thing that on one of his scavenging trips who comes across the remains of the real Turbo Rider and who has a pretty fantastic wrist thingy. I don’t know what it’s called. I just know that I want one. Badly.
Right off the bat, the movie nails the 80s vibe it’s going for. The look, and especially the music are just perfect. I’d like to say I know it’s perfect because of my own observation. I mean, I could say that, but it wouldn’t be entirely accurate. Remember when I said I had the house to myself? That didn’t last nearly as long as it was scheduled. My wife and daughters came home ninety-seven seconds after I hit play. Roughly. Usually when I have control of the living room TV everyone scatters and finds something else to do. Not my youngest daughter. By youngest I mean thirteen, so I didn’t run her off. She plopped down on the couch next to me, hears the music and says “How old is this?” Then I had to explain the whole made like a 80s about the 90s thing, rather excitedly. She tells me how I always watch weird stuff, and on we go.
She sits there, and things start happening. By things, I mean brilliant, hilarious, and hyper-violent things. Geysers of blood are spraying all over the screen. The jokes are killing me. I mean, KILLING me. In other words I’m all amped up during the action scenes and laughing my ass off between them. When blood splatters all over the place or something else happens that looks just like it would have in a real 80s movie, I’m tickled to no end. She doesn’t get the appeal and tells me “This is stupid.” Here’s the thing: she tells me that about a thousand times, but never stops watching. Obviously, there’s something she likes. Maybe. Could be that she just likes seeing me act like a fool. She also tells me on more than one occasion, “You’re way too into this.”
Why shouldn’t I be? It’s good stuff. I talked about the violence, which is great. I only touched on the comedy, but that’s the real draw for me. It’s a perfect sendup of all those low-budget sci-fi action flicks I spent lots of late nights watching, between all the Skinemax offerings, of course. Yes, the Mad Max franchise is a major target, here, and takes lots of good-natured ribbing. The movie is also carried by some excellent performances. Michael Ironside does his Michael Ironside thing and his just great as our bad guy. As good as he is, it’s Laurence Leboeuf who steals the show as Apple. She really is annoying, at first. However, we warm up to her until she eventually steals our heart and Laboeuf is pitch perfect all the way through. We don’t get any of this without strong writing and Turbo Kid has it in spades. It’s an extremely fun ride that does for the 80s post-apocalyptic flick what Grindhouse did for 70s exploitation. For me, it’s a good thing I no longer wear Fruit of the Looms, bad for Hanes, though.