It’s been a while since I’ve said ‘well that was a weird film’ out loud, at the end of a film, but say it I did when the credits for Turbo Kid rolled.
The film is set in a post-apocalyptic future…in 1997…where everything seems to have reverted to the 80’s. The Kid, played by Munro Chambers (mostly known for a TV series called Degrassi) is a hoarder of 80’s nostalgia in this water-deprived future. He’s also hugely into a comic-book called Turbo Rider. He finds a friend in Apple, played by Laurence Leboeuf (known for TV series Trauma and 19-2) a kooky humanoid-robot and together with an arm wrestling cowboy, Aaron Jeffrey (X-Men Origins, Neighbours), they set out to take on the bad guy Zeus, a wonderful Michael Ironside.
If that all sounds mental, well it pretty much is! Every fight scene, of which there are many, has elements of Peter Jackson’s Bad Taste and a slight hint of the Black Knight scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail (“it’s just a flesh wound”). Gory sound effects accompany the goriness on screen which are also accompanied by 80’s style special effects. The music is 80’s electronica with elements of Vangelis’s sounds from Blade Runner.
The 80’s BBC TV show element comes in because there’s something about the way it’s filmed or edited, can’t quite put my finger on it, but it smacks of Why Don’t You? or the BBC2 Look and Read type shows. Part of this could be because everyone in the film rides around on BMX bikes, the reason for which seems to have been lost in the editing so adds an odd comic sense to scenes that probably shouldn’t have one.
The film peaks when Ironside is doing what he does best, having fun with the villain role and also when everything reverts to gory, OTT violence. It starts to lose itself and get a little bogged down when it turns to the romance that blossoms between Chambers and Leboeuf. It feels like it should be a rip-roaring ride but some scenes slow things down a little too much.
That said the writer/directors Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell have put together a fine feature length debut that they should be proud of. It just missed the mark slightly given what we all hoped it would be.