SXSW 2015 Review: Turbo Kid

2015/03/18 14:49:03 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

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Based off their segment from the original The ABC’s of Death, filmmakers Yoann-Karl Whissell, Anouk Whissell and François Simard have expanded their post-apocalyptic story with Turbo Kid. The feature film adaptation returns to the isolated wastelands of 1997 where we follow a young loner known only as “The Kid” (Munro Chambers), who befriends a mysteriously optimistic girl by the name of Apple (Laurence Leboeuf). The pair quickly realize they need each other in order to survive after Apple is kidnapped by an evil warlord named Zeus (Michael Ironside). “The Kid” is then forced to step up and become a superhero (of sorts) via a mechanized suit that gives him the powers he needs in order to overcome the psychotic leader and save his new friend before it’s too late.

Feeling like if George Miller (Mad Max) had remade the 1989 kids classic, The Wizard, Turbo Kid is pure cinematic ecstasy with the filmmakers’ enthusiasm for their influences lovingly shining through in truly clever and wondrous ways. But instead of just getting caught up in nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake, Turbo Kid also offers up numerous ingenious story twists and intricate character touches, allowing the film to pay homage to its predecessors but also giving their story the room to explore their own mythologies and ideas along the way as well. There’s a fine line between paying tribute and treading the same ol’ territory time and time again, but Turbo Kid walks it well.

Much of Turbo Kid’s heart comes from The Kid and Apple, as well as their friendship throughout the film, and both Chambers and Leboeuf do an amazing job by getting us to fully invest in their characters with their heartfelt performances and palpable chemistry. The pair is joined on their adventures by a no-nonsense arm wrestler by the name of Frederic played by Aaron Jeffery who adds a nice sense of gravity and swagger to the story whenever he makes an appearance. Ironside’s villain is wickedly brutal and it was great to see the iconic actor being fully utilized here rather and given a chance to demonstrate why he’s been such a cinematic badass for over 20 years now.

A perfect blending of over-the-top gore, comedy and high-octane action, the filmmaking team behind Turbo Kid all do a fantastic job of keeping the story engaging and campy without ever taking things too far off the rails, creating characters that are incredibly likable and well-conceived and delivering some of the most insane and hysterical gore gags I’ve seen in some time. For anyone who grew up in the 80’s or 90’s, Turbo Kid is possibly the best film missing from your childhood and it has all the makings of a modern cult classic.  I cannot recommend it enough.

Movie Rating: 4/5

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    After falling in love with the horror genre at a very early age, Heather Wixson has spent the last decade carving out a name for herself in the genre world as a both a journalist and as a proponent of independent horror cinema. Wixson is currently the Managing Editor for DailyDead.com, and was previously a featured writer at DreadCentral.com and TerrorTube.com where her online career began; she’s also been a contributor at FEARnet as well as a panelist for several of their online programs.

    Wixson recently finished her first book, Monster Squad: Celebrating the Artists Behind Cinema's Most Memorable Creatures, and is currently working on her second upcoming book project on special effects artists as well.

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