Film Rec: “Turbo Kid” (2015)

Turbo Kid film screen cap

Turbo Kid is Mad Max for the Nintendo generation. This Canadian-New Zealander production is a gory and zany twist on the standard post-apocalyptic story. Like Hobo With a Shotgun (another cheap Canadian gorefest), the film takes its low budget and ridiculous premise as part of the charm and aims squarely for tongue-in-cheek comedy thrills. If you liked that movie, you’ll definitely like this one.

The story concerns the Kid, a post-apocalyptic scavenger who combs the wasteland for toys on his bicycle and styles himself after a character he follows in old comic books. The plot kicks off when he meets a suspiciously chipper young woman who insists on becoming his best friend and quickly lands him in hot water.

Three reasons to watch:

  • The 1980s Nostalgia: The film is obviously targeted at viewers who were kids in the 1980s. From Viewmasters to video games to the fact that even the burliest of wasteland savage pedals around on a sweet BMX bike, the film is steeped with nostalgia for children of that bygone era. I particularly appreciated the soundtrack, which throbs with synthesizers and sweaty, off-brand hard rock.
  • The Gore: The filmmakers seemed to take it as a personal challenge to come up with the most absurd ways imaginable to mutilate the human body and present it all with the absolute crudest technology possible. While featuring enough blood to fill a swimming pool, the violence has much more to do with Looney Tunes than Saw.
  • The Female Lead: In spite of all the outlandish setting and visuals, the film is positively stolen by the female lead, played by Canadian actress Laurence Leboeuf. Without spoiling too much, she plays a perfect balance between endearingly innocent and vaguely creepy, always with eyes and smile that are just a bit too wide for comfort. I only wish the plot had made a little better use of her.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you about:

  • The Kiwi Co-Lead: The only significant gripe I have about the film is the fact that the hero role is split between our eponymous Turbo Kid and a second hero, of the more lantern-jawed and suspiciously Indiana Jones-esque variety. I can only assume this was a concession to the Kiwi side of the production. Although he contributes to the film just fine, I honestly would have preferred more scenes of Turbo Kid and his stalker girlfriend gallivanting about.
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