It’s tough to get love letters to cheesy films right. They’re either winking too much at the camera, or they embrace the seedier “grindhouse-style” elements too much, or they mimic their inspiration so completely that they just end up being…kind of naff.
So it’s very exciting to report that Turbo Kid avoids all these pitfalls to deliver a massively entertaining and absolutely blood-soaked heartfelt B-movie tribute.
It’s the year 1997, and the post-apocalypse is a tough place to survive, on account of the lack of clean water and the bands of roaming psychos. The Kid (Munro Chambers) has a pretty sweet set-up with his underground bunker and Turbo Man comics, until he comes across the maniacally enthusiastic Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), who’s desperate to be his friend and really doesn’t give him much of a choice.
Slowly but surely, The Kid warms to his new companion and her eccentricities, but when they cross paths with water-hogging villain Zeus (Michael Ironside), it’s about to go off.
As previously mentioned, we’ve all sat through plenty of B-movie tributes that disappointed, and there’s so much about Turbo Kid that makes it stand out from the pack.
First of all, the performances are excellent. Chambers makes for a likeable lead, Ironside chews the scenery with tremendous relish as the cyclopean villain, and Aaron Jeffrey and Romano Orzani are hilarious as the personal space-obsessed tough guy and well-meaning black market dealer respectively.
Best of the bunch, however, is clearly Lebouef as Apple, a wide-eyed and gleefully excitable character who goes so far above and beyond the manic pixie dream girl trope that it’s not even an issue, especially when she’s approaching ultraviolence with the same excitement as our hero’s geeky interests. It’s a great performance and a wonderful character.
Apple isn’t the only example of the film getting balance exactly right. The humour is self-aware without being snarky. The gore is incredible and plentiful, but it’s never nasty or mean-spirited.
Most importantly of all, there’s a suprisingly massive heart hidden beneath Turbo Kid‘s daft exterior, and we even found ourselves feeling quite moved at times.
If that all sounds a little serious, the film is filled with great little touches (the BMX bikes never get old) that keep it fun and funny throughout, and seriously, we can’t say enough about the inventive and hilarious gore.
You’ll laugh, you’ll cheer, you’ll wince, you might even shed a tear. Simply put, Turbo Kid is awesome.