The Kid (Munro Chambers) is a late-teenage/early twenty-something orphan living in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Many viewers will be reminded of locations from the Mad Max films, but for me it was more like the characters from those films transported to the barren Earth of Pixar’s Wall-E. In fact, The Kid hordes artifacts from a forgotten era. He listens to pop music on a Walkman cassette player. He rides around the deserted landscape on a BMX fixed gear bike (in this case, it seems that the world ended sometime in the 1980s). The Kid scavenges the sites of the old civilization and survives by exchanging some of what he finds there for clean drinking water in town. During one of his excursions, he meets a quirky young lady named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) and they become traveling companions. The Kid and Apple face off against villainous Zeus (Michael Ironside) and his band of armored jerks.
I’m a little late to the game with this one. I had recently posted a review of Tales of Halloween, a film that I really enjoyed. One of the producers of that film, Shaked Berenson, sent me Turbo Kid because I had mentioned that I had missed the screening of the film at the most recent HorrorHound Weekend Film Festival, and he thought that I would enjoy it. Shaked was absolutely right to be proud of Turbo Kid!
It started as “T for Turbo,” a short submitted to Drafthouse Films’ ABCs of Death contest (it came in 3rd place in the T category). The writing/directing team of François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell (AKA The Roadkill Superstars) expanded their five minute short into a 90 minute feature film. Often when a short is expanded to feature length it feels padded or forced, but Turbo Kid takes all of the extreme fun and over-the-top moments from “T for Turbo” and fills in the gaps with a great retro sci-fi adventure story and lots of heart.
Laurence Leboeuf is a little grating at first in the role of The Kid’s traveling companion Apple (note that the irritating performance is appropriate for this character. The Kid doesn’t like her at first either), but by the third act I was in love with her. Michael Ironside is perfectly cast as the villain Zeus.
Hats off to Costume Designer Eric Poirier. Turbo Kid features some of the most distinctive costumes that I’ve seen in recent memory and includes nods to everything from Mad Max, to Indiana Jones, to BMX. Turbo Kid uses bright primary colors to make their characters pop against the earthen tones of the landscape.
The children of the Eighties should really enjoy Turbo Kid. It’s a feature length rocket of action movie nostalgia. Strap on your helmet, mount your trusty BMX and peddle like Lord Humungus and the Dogs of War are chasing you to your closest screening or VOD outlet.
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY: Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell
CAST: Aaron Jeffery, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Munro Chambers
PRODUCER(S): Anne-Marie Gélinas, Ant Timpson, Benoit Beaulieu, Tim Riley, Shaked Berenson, Jason Eisner, Patrick Ewald, Jean-François Ferland, Catherine Nadeau, Matt Noonan, Michael Patz, Stephanie Trepanier
DISTRIBUTOR: Epic Pictures