‘Turbo Kid’: A Nostalgic, Gore-filled Delight


In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, The Kid (Munro Chambers) races around on his BMX, scavenging for treasures in the detritus of a long gone society. Water is a precious commodity worth murdering for and whoever controls it, controls everything. Enter Zeus (Michael Ironside), the psychopathic super villain who holds the wasteland in his blood-drenched fist. The Kid has so far managed to stay out of the eye of Zeus (seriously, the guy only has one eye) until he meets Apple, a chipper, high-on-life whirlwind of a girl who promptly declares her and The Kid BFFs for life. After Apple is kidnapped and thrown into Zeus’s sinister fighting pit, The Kid sets out to rescue her and finds himself drawn into a world of blood, violence, and flesh-disintegrating weapons straight out of his favorite comic books. This is Turbo Kid.  

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Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell (collectively known as Roadkill Superstar), this Canadian/New Zealand co-production is not your average post-apocalyptic romp. It is a perfect storm of 80s nostalgia, extreme gore, and all-out ridiculous fun. The wasteland is littered with plastic pink flamingos and cassette tapes. The Kid’s prized possessions include a classic red Viewmaster, bright yellow Walkman, and most importantly, his collection of Turbo Rider comics. When Apple appears, she evokes an image that could only be the android love child of Rainbow Brite and Gem. Set against the drab landscape, the aftermath of a nuclear war, the saturated colors of 80s pop culture burst onto the screen. Following in this vein, the film goes to great lengths to create that perfect 80s vibe with the cinematography and special effects. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that it might be too tacky to be high-quality. It’s extremely well-done; the special effects are campy yet believable and the cinematography creates the perfect back-drop for the narrative.

For those that might not be as taken with the nostalgic aspect, there’s much more to

Turbo Kid

than the fetishization of a bygone era. Buckets of blood flow, severed limbs fly, and heads on pikes just sort of hang out in the dirt. It’s a veritable visual feast of gore. But underneath all of that, the film is also a touching story of love and friendship, a rollicking action-adventure, and a classic battle between good and evil. I’m not ashamed to admit that I even got a little teary-eyed at the end. Do you like the bright techno-colors of the 80s, a healthy dose of slapstick ultraviolence and BMX bikes? Do you think a garden gnome taped to a stick makes a fabulous weapon? Then may I introduce you to your new favorite movie,

Turbo Kid.

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