Reviews: Turbo Kid

We review the long awaited Turbo Kid, so strap in.

"How rad! My suit means stop
and yours means go. Who thinks
of this highly original stuff??"
Since I am an eighties kid (born in 1981, thank you very much) I have a soft spot for films and music from that era. All the eighties kids have grown up and some of them became filmmakers, which is why I think that aesthetic is recently coming back in a big way. Now there is a difference between something being a loving homage and just simply pandering to a demographic—if the recent bomb Pixels is any indication, then audience members want to see their childhood represented accurately. I find that these types of films work better when they take tropes from eighties films and use them in a new way, as opposed to just vomiting literal references all over the place and dumping a story on top--kinda like how the janitor used sawdust when somebody barfed at school.

Turbo Kid not only avoids these pitfalls (see what I did there, Pitfall was a radical Atari game from the eighties) it manages to be a fun little film on its own. It’s a love letter to a simpler time when movies didn’t need intricate plots and crazy special effects—all you needed was a protagonist, super cool weapons and a villain with bad ass fashion sense, preferably with an eyepatch. Turbo Kid revolves around, well…a kid known only as “The Kid” (Munro Chambers) who has to survive in a post-apocalyptic wasteland in the distant future of 1997. He ends up befriending a bubbly girl with pink hair named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) and has to fight against an evil overlord who has dubbed himself Zeus (Michael Ironside). Side note: when I saw Ironside for the first time I couldn’t help but shout “See you at the party Richter!”.

"By the power of Greyskull!"
This movie is billed as a sort of action/horror hybrid even though on the surface it comes off as silly and lighthearted. There is some serious gore depicted in this film and most of it is made with practical effects. I’m talkin’ heads exploding, jaws getting torn off, guts getting ripped out and other various atrocities. It’s a sticky, bloody, gooey good time and the costume and makeup team did an outstanding job. So while all of this grisly shit is going on, you have a goofy plot going on in the background which shouldn’t work, but somehow does. All of the actors are so earnest in their roles and you can’t help but smile at the antics going on every second. Turbo Kid is like if the movie Rad and the video game Fallout mated and produced a kick ass baby. Everything has that sweet retro-future look to it with bright primary colors, ridiculously awesome costume designs, and giant boxy analog-looking technology.

The music score is exactly the kind of music you would expect to hear in a flick like this: throbbing bass lines, screaming synth leads and melodies with moody arpeggios rounding out the ambient parts. If you are familiar with a genre of music called Outrun/Synthwave then you will be in heaven, as it can easily fit in with the likes of musical artists Com Truise or Kavinsky. It’s basically modern artists making music that sounds like it was ripped straight from eighties film soundtracks. This score makes everything that goes on in the film much more epic and will put a smile on anyone’s face. Overall, Turbo Kid is a blast to watch and definitely would be great to put on with a bunch of friends and a whole lot of beer. Pop Rocks optional, of course.

-Michelle Kisner

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