by Patrick Bromley
That probably sounds harsh. I don't mean to suggest you're not allowed to like Turbo Kid. It's not a movie for everyone, and even some of the audience for whom it's made won't connect with it for one reason or another. But as someone who nakedly wears his love of '80s genre movies both on this site and in life, Turbo Kid connected with me in such a way that for someone to reject it would be like a rejection of me. Thus, we cannot be friends. It's ok. Being friends with me isn't all that great. Just ask Doug.
"It Came from the '80s" movie not released in the '80s, Turbo Kid is a pitch-perfect tribute to the fantasy and sci-fi movies of that decade, from the production design to the photography to the amazing synth score by Jean-Philippe Bernier and Jean-Nicolas Leupi to the use of mostly practical effects in achieving the film's gleefully over the top violence and gore. The filmmakers get so many of the details right: the character names, the Stan Bush song that plays the first time we see The Kid ride his BMX across the wasteland (complete with a slow-mo shot of an only midly impressive stunt), the bad inspirational speech Apple gives (shades of Monique in Better Off Dead). It's more than just an attempt to mimic the aesthetics, though; the filmmakers have synthesized not only the look and feel of those movies but also their heart and imagination and created something that isn't just a copy of a copy. It's its own thing despite seeming like a lot of other things.
Earlier this year, the internet went crazy for Kung Fury, a crowdfunded short film that tried to do a lot of these same things. While it demonstrated a lot of creativity and ambition, I couldn't get past the hollow air-quote nature of the whole thing -- it threw in a bunch of signifiers of things that are "awesome" (Ninjas! Robots! Dinosaurs! David Hasselhoff!) but never added up to any signs. It was an exercise in DIY visual effects and editing.
Turbo Kid is in limited theatrical release and on VOD/iTunes beginning August 28.