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A nostalgic ode to kids' movies of yesteryear, Turbo Kid eyes the past through an entertaining -- albeit surprisingly gory -- postmodern lens.
All Critics (50)
| Top Critics (7)
| Fresh (45)
| Rotten (5)
"Turbo Kid" isn't really more mature than its raw generic parts, nor is it clever enough to disarm viewers who want to regress to childhood without feeling guilty for that naive impulse.
Made for ironicists, Turbo Kid, in its endearingly goofy way, says good things about the power reserves of our childhood - an inner superhero we can call upon when needed.
The whole thing looks like it cost its writer-directors, François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell, oh, maybe $1.98.
It may be that, while watching the nine-figure reboot of Mad Max, there was a part of you that yearned for the $1.98 version. If so, Turbo Kid is for you.
With nods to Mad Max and a fun synth soundtrack, Turbo Kid packs plenty of retro affection and loopy fun, but its over-the-top violence gets tiresome; think Monty Python's Black Knight on endless repeat.
A pitch-perfect pastiche that never mocks its inspirations, the picture is silly fun to warm the hearts of aging fanboys and delight hipsters who weren't yet born the first time Mel Gibson donned Max's leathers.
Combative, unconventional and guaranteed to impale one's exposed guts on a spiked iron fence Turbo Kid is weird and wonderful if only for the afterglow of basking in the art of dimwitted decadence so lovingly realized in impulsive retro flicks
Simultaneously cute and disgusting, this 80s throwback picture is a fun amalgam of Mad Max and BMX Bandits ...
There is enough cheese here to keep Wisconsin content for a millennium, [but] Turbo Kid is a visual time-capsule of joy for those of us that revel in reliving the past.
Anyone with an appreciation for 90s culture will have a permanent smile for 90 minutes
For those of you into this kind of thing it's not to be missed.
A crazy film that makes the audience part of the experience. [Full review in Spanish]
The idea of a post-apocalyptic movie about people on bikes that looks and sounds entirely as if it was made in the 80s is awesome. And you can't blame a movie for its low budget. You can blame it for the rather unoriginal story it tells, though. While a lot of people seem ti give it a pass for its great soundtrack, nostalgic trash feeling or the incredible amount of blood and gore effects, the heart of the film feels a bit hollow and, worse, predictable. A guilty pleasure that could and should have dared to be more original.
As a throwback to a retro 1980s style, it is a pity that it looks so cheap and goofy as if made by someone who had just left film school without a dime in his pocket, but despite its flaws, it is an entertaining pastiche full of energy, with Leboeuf and Ironside stealing the show and obviously having a lot of fun.
"In the future," this one begins, "1997"... and its off to the excess races after that sublime proclamation in this postcard homage to those popcorn eaters of glorious youth when everything, even eating popcorn, was played bigger, larger than life, especially if it wasn't that at all. You'll need a raincoat for the buckets of corn syrupy blood splattered everywhere, and there's more android love here as a child of the wasteland fighting the corrupt powers that be, discovers a babe robot (Enough with the advertising, I'm ready for my babe robot right now!) in the process. Echoes of Mad Max Thunderdome just everywhere, too, especially the souped up hotrods everybody be riding. What's not to enjoy?
A movie with a heavy 80's retro theme? who'd of thought it. A movie with a heavy post apocalyptic Earth theme? who'd of thought it. A movie with a heavy, over the top, comical, bloody violent theme? who'd of thought it. Yes this movie isn't the most original of ideas to come along, in fact its a complete rehash of many many movies we've seen many many times. The main differences here are...umm...its a joint Canadian and New Zealand collaboration, yeah, take that...originality.
So in this universe (1997, because remember, retro), the Earth has been decimated after some kind of war or whatever, everything has been destroyed leaving a familiar looking barren wasteland where people live in a primitive steampunk/Mad Max-esque existence. Naturally everybody has gone a little crazy, everybody wears really bizarre attire, everybody carries various bizarre weapons, everybody partakes in various barbaric games, oh and everybody travels around on bikes because presumably there is no more fuel for vehicles. Its basically you're common wild west scenario with 'Mad Max' visuals, life is cheap and people do what they gotta do to survive. Oh and if you haven't already guessed, there is indeed a violent horde of lunatics that semi-rule this new land with an iron fist, and Michael Ironside is their sadistic leader (picky reviewer 0-1 movie).
Yeah so basically the plot revolves around this kid, called simply, Kid, yet clearly played by a much older actor. This guy lives alone and survives as best he can as a scavenger, then you have this tough cowboy type fella who aptly dresses like a cowboy. He appears to be the main hero and protagonist, or so you think, and he kinda is and kinda isn't, if you get me, a turns out to be more of a sidekick to the kid. Finally there is the obligatory female character called Apple who is rather eccentric, you find out why later on. As you can guess, all these characters get mixed up and involved with the sadistic roaming gang which leads to much fighting in order to free the land of the blood thirsty horde that grips it. Its you're basic hero story, the young lad who defies the odds with his love interest and older companion, to beat the forces of evil.
Now our main young protagonist, the kid, is actually obsessed with a fictional character within the movie called Turbo Man, a comicbook character who looks like some kind of cheesy retro space ranger toy. The kid tries to imitate this character in every way, his weapons, his moves etc...he idolises him. At one point he even discovers some crashed spaceship thing that seemed to contain some kind of military type who just happened to look and dress like Turbo Man, or it was actually the real Turbo Man, I'm not really sure, but this leads further into the whole 'dress-up' playtime angle of the movie (twas an amazingly lucky coincidence he found that crashed ship too). You see, the plot plays out from the kids perspective, which is obviously immature, childish, young at heart, so everything feels light-hearted and awesome, everything is an adventure and the suit just makes it feel even better. He's not any kind of superhero or action man, but the suit makes him believe he is, plus the suit also comes with this natty wrist laser cannon thing, so not too shabby for killing bad guys huh.
The obvious hook for this movie is the outrageously old school, retro visuals, which homage a variety of nostalgic elements from toys, bikes, clothes and kitschy junk. Turbo Man looks like something outta the 90's but is adorned with very 70's graphics which mainly consist of rainbow go-faster stripes or swooshes. Indeed the old rainbow swooshes are a common visual element in this movie, they tend to pop up on various things and do give off that classic 1970's Atari-esque vibe (mainly because Atari used rainbow go-faster stripes as part of their gaming logo back in the 2600 days). The kids base is adorned with lots of trinkets and dated pop culture items from this universe, but obviously look deliberately familiar to reality. While his wrist laser cannon weapon seems pretty unoriginal the way he uses it, his poses, his quick little He-Man/Lion-O moment are all instantly recognisable to the keen eye. His female companion Apple is also dressed in a very retro looking outfit, all light pastel colours with glitter makeup and a headband, she kinda looked like a walking homage to 'My little Pony', 'Jem and the Holograms' and 'Care Bears' to me, certainly the vibe I got. And finally we have the ultimate retro callback, the BMX bikes, everyone rides around on BMX bikes or similar. This is both highly amusing simply because, how the f**k could you travel around that terrain on a bike without getting knackered all the time. Secondly, the whole notion just looks so passe, I know that's idea but all I could think of was shitty movies like 'BMX Bandits'.
The one thing I think let this movie down was the hyper violence to be honest. If you think along the lines of the Robert Rodriguez movie franchise 'Machete' then you know where I'm coming from and what to expect. This was a disappointing aspect for me, there is nothing wrong with a good amount of violence and gore, I'm all for it with adult flicks, but there needs to be a certain level of realism. I get that this movie was deliberately going for the shocking, gaudy visual effects, and to that degree it certainly works, but I just felt it was unnecessary. The movie could of been much better if the violence was toned down a bit, given a bit more edge and lost the farcical tomfoolery. The villains in the movie would have been much more enjoyable and menacing had the violence been a bit more down to earth. But when you've got body parts flying all over the show it becomes tiresome very quickly, I think you can only take it so far before you spoil what you've got.
Speaking of villains and characters as a whole, they actually weren't that great. Michael Ironside (Zeus) is obviously the best thing going here and he goes for it, chewing up the scenery like no ones business, we've seen him do this before, we know he's great at it. Our young protagonist is also pretty good actually, he's likeable, not overly big-headed, not some overly tanned, pretty boy with perfect muscles, he's just a regular kid with a well styled retro hairdo. Unfortunately that's where it stops, Apple is just kinda annoying with her wide-eyed wackiness, plus she has to be rescued like...a tonne of times. Zeus's male sidekick Skeletron (eh eh!!), is you're typical mute, insane, mask wearing, crazy weapon wielding, Mad Max-esque type henchman, nothing new there. Same can be said for his female sidekick who has a typical tribal type hairdo and just grins evilly all the time. The last main character, the cowboy, merely comes across as a Kiwi's idea of what a wild west cowboy should look and sound like, in other words, a lame Clint Eastwood wannabe. Alas he comes off more like a typical looking Kiwi sheep farmer wearing a stetson.
Clearly the whole movie plays out like a comicbook, or videogame even, to a degree. Its not suppose to be taken seriously on any level, its meant to be cheesy and unashamedly retro, kitschy and nostalgic. Indeed the retro vintage charms did work for me, visually at least, they all looked great and did hark back to the good old days nicely. Its just a shame the rest of the movie is pretty glum looking, unexciting and too obviously confined to a specific area, a quarry apparently. I really wanted to love this, the moment the Turbo Kid title popped up, emblazoned across the screen in a shameless 'Tranformers' logo rip-off, I got all excited. Yeah I could overlook the plot holes like how the hell does the kids power gauntlet/laser cannon thing work? what exactly powers it in a world of no power, and just who the hell was that suppose to be in the crashed spaceship?? what was his story? But overall the endless daft violence, weak characters and shallow plot just overshadow everything.
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