The year is 1997. The world has become a desolate, Mad Max style wasteland devoid of most of the Earth’s water. Acid rain and toxic gas prevail, and the barren world is ruled by ruthless one-eyed Zeus, played by Michael Ironside. His right hand man is a mute but deadly enforcer, Skeletron (Edwin Wright), sporting an iron mask and a saw on his hand. Together they cut down anyone in their path on their conquest for domination and complete control over the world’s water supply.
Our hero, The Kid (Munro Chambers), scavenges the wasteland on his BMX so as to barter found objects for the necessary items. Surviving on his own, he covets retro items and worships comic book hero Turbo Man, a red helmeted hero with a Nintendo power glove like laser blaster. When he encounters the perpetually vivacious Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), sporting a look straight out of Jem and the Holograms, their unique friendship sets off a chain of events that will lead The Kid to cross paths with Zeus, his henchman, and Zeus’ arch nemesis Frederic (Aaron Jeffery), the New Zealand arm wrestling cowboy. And that path becomes bloody and violent.
The complete retro style and throwbacks give fans of the 80s much to geek out over. From The Kid’s bunker full of retro objects to costume design, this film is saturated in nostalgia. The cinematography only further submerges the viewer in the period, utilizing familiar camera work. As The Kid pedals the terrain on his BMX, special BMX tricks or jumps are shot in slow motion to summon memories of BMX videos of the past. The beating synth pop soundtrack furthers the retro feel, and vinyl enthusiasts everywhere will be lining up to purchase Death Waltz Records release later this year. The score often feels like the pulse of the film, and will linger in your mind long after the end credits roll.
The soul of the film, however, is the friendship between The Kid and Apple. While her unflappable perkiness initially spooks the solitary Kid, she warms her way into his heart, and ours. Laurence Leboeuf steals every scene that she’s in, which is no small feat considering the talent of lead Munro Chambers. It’s Apple that breathes joy into an otherwise desolate place; that inspires The Kid to explore his curiosity. Each actor brings charisma into their roles, but together on-screen they’re magic.
The film strikes a perfect balance of light with the dark. The happy retro feel and the beautiful friendship between Apple and The Kid is matched with the gore and violence caused by Zeus and his henchmen. The amount of blood splashed across the screen almost offsets the desolate grey backdrop. The gore reaches over the top levels with glee. Prepare for a lot of carnage and a lot of severed body parts tossed about in comical fashion.
Writer and directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell elevated a simple throwback dystopian into something far better than it probably has any right to be. A quirky, gore filled sci-fi comedy works on its own, but by injecting depth and emotion they’ve made a memorable film destined for cult classic greatness. Visually stunning, quirky humor, a catchy soundtrack, and lots of feels makes Turbo Kid one of the best films of the year.
Rating 10 out of 10
About the Author
Meagan Navarro is a blogger from Houston, TX. She fell in love with monsters at age four after being exposed to them via Ghostbusters, and her passion grew into an obsession for all things horror and Halloween (which is the entire month of October, as far as she’s concerned). Meagan also loves traveling and chocolate.