Turbo Kid is pure, unadulterated 80’s nostalgia and quite simply one of the best films of 2015.
Set in the post-apocalyptic world of 1997, The Kid scavenges the wastelands for food, weapons and trinkets from a bygone age. His world is soon rocked after a chance encounter with carefree Apple, a different type of girl with a sweet naivety and a snap wristband which she attaches to him in a bid to find a new friend. When Apple is kidnapped by the evil tyrant Zeus, The Kid looks to his beloved comics for inspiration and he takes on the persona of his favourite comic book character in a bid to rescue her.
Turbo Kid is directed by not one but three people (Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell) and where sometimes too many cooks can spoil a broth, in this case they’ve created a gastronomic feast. I loved Turbo Kid! From the opening scenes and first chords of the synth-based soundtrack the film transports you straight back to the 80’s with retro graphics, BMXs, brick-sized cassette walkmans and dodgy fashions. The attention to detail is stunning and where We Are Still Here so successfully paid tribute to 70’s Euro horror, Turbo Kid evokes kids films such as The Goonies and The Last Starfighter blended with more adult fare such as Mad Max and Robocop. Whilst its narrative maybe veers a little too close to the mythology of Hewlett and Martin’s Tank Girl at times (I’m thinking specifically humans being harvested for fresh water), it can certainly be forgiven considering the sheer fun of it all.
The film zips along at a fair old pace and never drags during its 95 minutes. Michael Ironside is suitably menacing and takes delight at watching innocent citizens combat in gladiatorial battle with losers being turned into water. Although special mention has to go to his even more terrifying second-in-command Skeletron (get it!?!) who slices through many a throat/chest/head with gleeful abandon. I also recognised Aaron Jeffery (Wentworth Prison) as Frederic, a tough, cowboy-type who helps Turbo Kid on his mission against Zeus, with keeping Apple safe and acting as a father figure for him when advice on life and love is required. Munro Chambers (Turbo Kid) and Laurence Lebeouf (Apple) make a cute couple and you root for their survival throughout. A monitor on Apple’s arm is a stroke of nostalgic genius and the Kid’s growing love for her is infectious as she transforms his worldview.
As a lover of synth-based music and a child of the 80’s I was in aural heaven throughout the film; similar to Cliff Martinez’s work on the Drive soundtrack, Le Matos’ score plays a massive part in not only contributing to the tone of the film but in also elevating the visuals and helping us create an even greater emotional bond with the characters. It’s a masterpiece in its own right. Turbo Kid has cult status written all over it and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.