Turbo Kid – based on the short feature by the same directors ’T is for Turbo’ – takes place in a “post-apocalyptic world of 1997” where bizarre characters rule the wasteland in search of supplies and water. The Kid (Munro Chambers) is a comic book obsessed teenager who has spent the majority of his life alone in this desolate landscape by keeping to himself and riding his BMX bike to go scavenging for items to survive or trade. He keeps himself busy creating new weapons out of regular household items and reading Turbo Rider comics, however when he bumps into wide eyed, endlessly gleeful and eccentric character Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), he reluctantly befriends her and allows her to join him on his quests.
This film, a Canadian/New Zealand co-production released in 2015 by François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell, is a bloody and colourful throwback to 80s sci-fi/post-apocalyptic movies, which could be described as “Mad Max meets BMX”. With nods to brightly illustrated comics in the costume designs, to 8-bit video games with health bar hearts indicating the life status of characters; it is packed with pop culture references. It’s a beautiful looking film and makes the most of the locations it’s filmed in, with bleak apocalyptic landscapes that replicate the end of times (the impaled skulls scattered absolutely everywhere also helps).
With its outrageous gruesome effects, you can see how the directors try to be as gross as they possibly can, on a small budget. There are heads hacked in half, severed limbs flying, guts spilling, torsos exploding – it’s a total splattering gore storm that shows the human body being utterly destroyed in ways you never thought possible. Peter Jackson’s Braindead (1992) springs immediately to mind with its use of comical slapstick gore and practical FX. While the acting can be a little off, there are a number of cheesy one-liners that will no doubt make you groan – the friendship between the two main characters is a delight to watch as you see them become more important to each other; Apple brings The Kid out of his lonesome shell.
Producer Jason Eisener (Hobo with a Shotgun and the ‘Slumber Party Alien Abduction’ segment in VHS 2) is clearly at home with the messy trash cinema B-movie feel. In a nutshell this film takes action, an obscene amount of blood-soaked mayhem and adds a hint of romance to a not-so-neatly wrapped love letter to the 80s. However, with all of that said it can be ridiculously extravagant but also proves it has heart with some touching and sentimental moments that I definitely wasn’t expecting.