The future. The year: 1997. In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a comic book fan dons the persona of his favourite hero to save his enthusiastic friend and fight a tyrannical overlord.
Let’s get this out of the way upfront: Turbo Kid is an utter triumph. Bursting with heart, brimming with nostalgia and laced with occasionally jarring brutality, it’s a uniquely eccentric and instantly lovable film that is destined for cult classic status.
Set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, our nameless teenage lead (an endearingly wide-eyed Munro Chambers) seems to live a fairly unassuming existence, keeping a low profile in a hideout that seems exclusively furnished with vintage electronics and 80s memorabilia (which is, coincidentally, also a reasonable description of the film itself). Out alone one day, his peaceful existence is interrupted by the arrival of Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), and it’s around this point that Turbo Kid really changes gears, if you’ll pardon the pun.
Leboeuf proves to be Turbo Kid’s real ace in the hole. Taking on the role of Chambers’ irrepressibly enthusiastic sidekick, it’s a role that would have been easy to overcook, but she nails it, and provides us with one of the most memorable performances by anyone in the last few years. As introductions go, it’s about as good as it gets.
It’s impossible for the “tyrant with a monopoly on the water supply” plotline not to ring a few Fury Road-shaped bells, but the similarity to that particular post-apocalyptic action movie pretty much ends there. Turbo Kid is its own beast, and boasting an array of excellent performances (not least from Michael Ironside and Edwin Wright as iconic villains Zeus and Skeletron), a spot-on synth-heavy soundtrack, buckets of blood and a genuinely star-making turn from Leboeuf, Turbo Kid is a hidden gem that is well worth unearthing.
Receiving a reaction that couldn’t have been further from the preceding film at Film4 Frightfest 2015 (Cherry Tree), Turbo Kid delivered on all accounts. Funny, tense and with nonstop action running through its core, Turbo Kid was basically faultless and I don’t think I heard a word against it during the entire five days.
Wasting no time at all the film immerses us straight away with ‘the kid’(Munroe Chambers) – for we never learn his real name – as he races across the wasteland on his bike in a post-apocalyptic 1997 scavenging for food and souvenirs to add to his underground bunker. Obsessed with comic books and adventure this is how he spends his days until he meets the bonkers yet bubbly Apple (the superb Laurence Leboeuf) who bursts into his life and wants to be friends. The two soon become close but a series of unfortunate events soon follows when the evil Zeus (the legend that is Michael Ironside) – who controls the water supply – comes after them with his gang of cronies. Terror soon ensues and the kid must finally embrace the character of his favourite comic book hero and try to save the day!
Mad Max crossed with a host of retro 1980’s flicks, this is one fun film that you cannot help but love. Munroe Chambers delivers a brilliant performance as ‘the kid’ and Laurence Leboeuf is simply perfect as Apple; surely she’s set to go down as one of the most popular cinematic characters of all time! There are lots of original action scenes, some exciting chase sequences in the middle of the vast wilderness and an electric eighties soundtrack which appear to be making a comeback in many films (Cold In July, The Guest, Maniac) of late. The film is pumping from start to finish and raised the bar extremely high for the rest of the festival!
Turbo Kid is out on DVD and Blu-Ray from 5th October 2015