The talented triad of François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell have created a feature film out of their immensely popular short film T for Turbo—originally found in the horror anthology ABC’s of Death—and the result is an ’80s infused blast of bloody cinema. It’s easy to see why the trio’s latest effort became such a fan favorite during its festival run—the film oozes style and over-the-top enthusiasm, creating an atmosphere of bloody fights and wacky characters. Turbo Kid is set in a post-apocalyptic wasteland where a comic book fan dons the persona of his favourite hero to save his new friend and fight a tyrannical overlord.
Like most post-apocalyptic films, the world surrounding Turbo Kid is dark and gloomy with the hope of humanity lost in the wasteland. And again, like most of these films, it’s a largely unexplored landscape, leaving much to the imagination of the viewer. But because there is so much to be imagined, I wish the film would have spent more time rooting around the lives of the survivors and the communities they’ve built—there’s just so much there to mine that could have given us a better sense of how these people live; it’s such a potentially rich world that I wanted to see more of, dammit!
It does, however, deliver a wonderful moment early in the film where our soon to be hero—The Kid—rides into town and snags his favorite comic, Turbo Rider. Here we catch an all too quick glimpse of what its like living in the wasteland, where water is nearly impossible to come by and strangers are exactly that… strange.
It’s not long after that when The Kid runs into an unlikely partner—the exuberant Apple—in which they set off to explore the wasteland together. The two quickly form a charming bond with one another, adding a surprisingly heartwarming layer to the film—and I say surprisingly because it’s such a hyper-violent bloody mess of an action film that the last thing you’d expect is a heartfelt, quirky relationship between two wonderful leads. It was awesome!
If there was any fault in Turbo Kid, it’s in its pacing and one-dimensional characters. It starts off a little too slow for its own good, only really hitting its stride in the last 30 minutes or so. And while the dynamic between The Kid and Apple is pretty fantastic, every other character leaves a lot to be desired; especially the film’s big baddie Zues, who never really becomes anything more than just your typical bad guy. It’s in the final act where Turbo Kid really shines, though, and the reason why this movie kicks so much ass. Every severed limb, exploding body, and intestine-spilling scene leading up to the final battle was just a small taste of what Turbo Kid has up its sleeve. The final fight is as gnarly as you can imagine, stacking up a body count in impressively nasty fashion.
But what makes this more than just a splatter fest is in its ridiculously cool delivery—the film is a practical effects madhouse, offering some of the best display of carnage we’re likely to see this year. There’s just something inherently cool about stylistic filmmaking colliding with blood and guts as an ’80s inspired soundtrack ties it all together. I mean, if you’re into that kind of shit then you’re going to love this movie. Simple. As. That.
Its slow start and lack of strong characters are really the only things holding this sure-to-be cult classic back, which is an easy thing to forgive once the blood starts to fly. Turbo Kid has an undeniable charm that comes to life through carnage, style, and a kick ass soundtrack. This wasteland is totally fucking rad and you’ll be begging to see more of it, that’s for sure.