Turbo Kid, the directing debut of the Canadian RKSS team, is completely insane. A review of the film could end there, but I should probably go a bit further into it. Hopefully I survive.
The film is a 1980s futuristic, post-apocalypse movie made in 2015. Yes, it actually starts with a narration that tells us that humanity has been nearly wiped out by acid rain… in 1997. Apparently, the acid rain also wiped away all the cars, because the only vehicles available for transportation are BMX bikes.
Anyway, the plot centers on The Kid (Munro Chambers). He’s a comic book nerd who lives in the Wasteland ruled by Zeus (Michael Ironside), who killed his parents. He gets pulled into a fight to stop Zeus, and partners with free spirit Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) and cowboy/armwrestler/total badass Frederic (Aaron Joffrey).
This is all just a vehicle for directors Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell to spill guts all over the screen. They find countless and surprising ways to do it, from shoving a man’s head into a blender to stretching intestines out. You need a really strong stomach to see this.
While the plot is rather thin and obvious, it does actually have a lot of heart when you wipe the blood away. The performances are often great, as everyone knows that this is a light-hearted movie. Laurence Leboeuf is the stand-out though as she completely becomes the Apple character. Ironside, who is a veteran of the movies the RKSS team is paying tribute to, just oozes evil in every frame.
However, as fun as this is for the crew making it, the movie can feel a bit slow in its quieter, non-violent sequences. Turbo Kid, which was born as a short film in 2012, does feel like it could have worked as an hour-long movie. It certainly doesn’t feel as long as the 30-minute Kung Fury does, but only those who love the same movies RKSS does will really enjoy all 90 minutes before getting antsy.
Turbo Kid is available on Netflix, but anyone wanting to know more about the film’s production should pick up the three-disc Epic Pictures box set. It includes the movie on Blu-ray and DVD, plus a DVD with a few making-of documentaries and festival introductions. The RKSS team also recorded commentaries in English and French.
Turbo Kid is the kind of movie you need to see with a large audience at midnight during a film festival. I have a feeling that it would be much more enjoyable to hear waves of laughter with every body split, decapitation, vaporized human flesh and fairly obvious plot twist. That said, it’s a total blast. Just make sure you have a trash barrel nearby in case you can’t stand the sight of (fake) blood.