The last 10 years have shown that the 1980s will never get old. There are a lot of movies and music around that have the look, the sound, and the feel of the 80s. Some of it has been pretty lame (Kung Fury,Manborg), and some of it has been awesome (The Guest, Father’s Day, Drive). Turbo Kid, from 2015 is awesome.
The story is set, classically for an 80s riff, in the far-flung future of 1997. When that comes around, the world will be a wasteland after a nuclear war destroys civilizations. We start a day in the life of the hero – The Kid, as he scavenges waste for useful items to help him survive, and to trade at the local stand-in for Barter Town.
The Kid is a fan of a hero from the past called Turbo Rider, who he mimics with the way he dresses. We learn that a tyrant named Zeus controls large sections of the wasteland and the normal people try to avoid his area of control. Zeus not only causes most of the misery for the survivors in the area but is also the reason The Kid is an orphan.
One day The Kid meets a seemingly insane girl who aggressively attaches herself to him as a friend. It turns out she is a “friendship model ” robot named Apple. Apple gets captured by Zeus and The Kid gets away. He stumbles upon the buried, crashed ship of the real Turbo Rider and takes his gear including his trademark wrist laser weapon.
After a rescue attempt goes wrong, The Kid finds himself reunited with Apple but facing a fight to the death. I’m going to hold off explaining any more to avoid spoilers.
Turbo Kid is full of some of the most fun characters I have seen for a while. My favorite is the henchman for Zeus, named Skeletron. He doesn’t say a word during the entire movie, but his physical acting is impressive. He is one of my all-time favorite movie villains.
Apple is the heart of the movie and I dare you not to fall in love with the character. The chemistry between her and The Kid is great and you get truly invested in their relationship. Now, here is the reason I really love the movie. It is ultra-violent! The gore level goes beyond the D-Day landing of Saving Private Ryan. It is an absolute blood bath. I really can’t exaggerate how gory this film is.
I love the mix of a movie made to seem like a light-hearted kid’s cartoon from the 80s and a slaughterhouse. Mwah! Chef’s kiss. Perfection! We get to see a character rip a mook’s bottom jaw off, then shove it through that mook’s eye sockets. What else do you want?
Turbo Kid is firmly in the action-comedy genre and it is very much meant to remind you of a B-movie, a straight-to-VHS effort direct from the 1980s. That said, its quality far exceeds what it is paying tribute to.
Even with all the action and gore and comedy, there is a real heartfelt story in Turbo Kid. There is more going on here than just a stupid “Hey remember the 80s? Here, let’s have some random goofy gag!”
I’m looking at you, Kung Fury, you piece of dogshit.
Turbo Kid is available on Amazon Prime, the Apple store, Google Play, and all the usual outlets to rent or buy.
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