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Turbo Kid [Celluloid Hero]

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Turbo Kid  (2015)

 

In the distant future of 1997, society has fallen apart. Water is a precious commodity, toxic clouds make part of the land uninhabitable, warlords control parts of “The Wasteland” while others just scavenge to survive. From the depths of this hellish scene, a young hero will rise!

“Turbo Kid” is a wonderful homage to 80s dystopian movies. The most direct comparison is Mad Max, but instead of souped up death-cars, everyone rides a BMX bike. It was actually based on a short film “T Is For Turbo“, part of the “ABCs of Death” series. Director François Simard took that short concept and reworked it into a full-length movie, and really only kept a few elements of the short.

The Kid is all alone in the Wasteland, scrounging up whatever he can to trade for water and rare issues of his favorite comic book “Turbo Man.” He meets a strange quirky girl named Apple, and they develop a quick bond. While The Kid is teaching Apple rules of survival, the tyrant Zeus is abducting people, forcing them to battle in Thunderdome-esque matches, and turning the losers into water – the body is 70% water, after all. An arm-wrestling cowboy named Frederic takes on Zeus and his henchmen in order to avenge his brother, and eventually joins forces with The Kid.

Turbo Kid is the kind of movie that we all wanted to make as a kid. There was a great balance of innocence and carnage. Using a teenager as the lead made the character’s journey feel tougher – it’s hard enough to be a teenager in real life, but to be one all alone after the apocalypse with no family, no friends, it just hits harder. We all had those fantasies of being the hero, fighting the bad guy and winning the girl.

Countering that innocence is the insane, absurd, wonderfully over-the-top violence and gore. No body parts are safe, hands are chopped off, table saw blades lop off heads, torsos are cleaved in twain, and much much more. The blood spurts out like a geyser, so the cartoonish nature takes away from the horrific thought of being dismembered.

For such a goofy movie, the acting was solidly appropriate. Munro Chambers was awesome as The Kid, reminding me a bit of a young Ryan Reynolds. Laurence Leboeuf was perfect as Apple, bringing a wide-eyed frenetic energy that I instantly fell in love with. Aaron Jeffery was great as the gritty cowboy, and Michael Ironside brought a respected name and some serious gravitas to the main villain Zeus.

 

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On the [Celluloid Hero] scale, “Turbo Kid” gets a 7 out of 10.

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