Turbo Kid Directors: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Writers: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell
Cast: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Aaron Jeffery, Edwin Wright, Romano Orzari, Tyler Hall, Jason Eisener Epic Pictures Group | Timpson Films
Unrated | 89 Minutes
Release Date: March 17, 2005 (SXSW)
“This is the future. The world as we know it is gone. Acid rain has left the land barren and the water toxic. Scarred by endless wars, humanity struggles to survive in the ruins of the old world, frozen in an everlasting nuclear winter. This is the future. This is the year 1997.”
Turbo Kid is directed by The RKSS (Road Kill Super Stars), a collective of three filmmakers: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissel. In a post-apocalyptic future, The Kid (Munro Chambers), a young scavenger obsessed with comic books, must face his fears and become a hero when he meets a peculiar girl with cyan-colored hair named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf).
Despite their efforts to live peafully, Zeus (Michael Ironside), the sadistic and self-proclaimed leader of the Wasteland, will not stop until The Kid, Apple, and their brave companion Frederic (Aaron Jeffery) are dead. Armed with little more than a “Gnome-Stick” and a turbocharged Power Glove, The Kid embarks on an incredible (and insanely violent) journey to rid the Wasteland of evil and save his friends.
Turbo Kid is a BMX-powered, blood-splattered love letter to ’80s cinema. Its influences are obvious; an amalgam of films like BMX Bandits, The Road Warrior, Cherry 2000, and early Peter Jackson splatter films like Braindead. In many ways, Turbo Kid plays like a forgotten ’80s kids movie produced by Cannon Films. Hell, one of the main characters is named Apple – presumably for the 1980 film directed by Cannon’s own Menahem Golan! Either that or they’re just making fun of Gwyneth Paltrow – I’m fine with either scenario.
Turbo Kid is more than just a nostalgic tribute to ’80s pop culture, however. It manages to balance incredible costume designs and over-the-top ore effects with a blend of heart and humor that makes it downright endearing. A big part of that are the performances by Chambers and Leboeuf, who anchor Turbo Kid with a sweet, energized chemistry that propels the film forward, even when the plot loses steam.
Speaking of plot, Michael Ironside’s Zeus “juices” people to process them into clean drinking water – you know, because the human body is more than 60 percent water. It’s like Soylent Green meets Waterworld, minus the whole “drink your own urine” thing. Scoring a genre icon like Ironside (Starship Troopers, Total Recall, Scanners) as the villain elevates Turbo Kid into instant cult classic territory.
Zeus’ nemesis is Frederic, an arm wrestling champion who serves as the Indiana Jones of the Wasteland. When we first meet Frederic, he’s arm wrestling a guy dressed as Mola Ram from Temple of Doom. I can only assume the arm wrestling subplot is a reference to Sylvester Stallone’s Over the Top, another Cannon Films “classic” I must have watched 50 times as a kid.
Bottom line: If you’re a fan of films like Jason Eisener’s Hobo with a Shotgun or Astron-6’s Manborg, then you’re going to dig Turbo Kid. Adventurous, unrestrained creativity; this movie feels dangerous, like it escaped from some sort of bizzaro dimension where the do-it-yourself punk rock spirit of independent filmmaking is still alive and well.
Borderline insane and turbocharged, Turbo Kid is a must-see.
Look for my interviews with Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann-Karl Whissell here at Geeks Of Doom soon.