Published Aug 27, 2015Turbo Kid is the kind of film that could have only come out of Canada. A send-up of New Zealand and Australia's post-apocalyptic action films, low-budget American thrillers and the poorly lit horrors from North of the Border that littered VHS bins for years, it's an all-encompassing genre flick that could have only been created in the same country that brought you the underappreciated Maritime masterpiece Hobo with a Shotgun.
A silver screen extension of the six-minute T is for Turbo short that found its way into The ABCs of Death back in 2012, the film follows a lonely, scavenging young man (Degrassi star Munro Chambers) fighting for survival in a post-apocalyptic Canadian wasteland that is short on water, but seemingly high on BMX bikes and Bones Brigade-era safety gear, as he makes his living trading a mishmash of '80s-style tchotchkes and junk (even though the film is set in 1997) and keeps himself entertained by collecting tattered back issues of his favourite comic book, Turbo Kid.
But after making friends with a plucky, Technicolor sidekick named Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) and losing her in a brawl with a gang of merciless henchmen and their leader (Canadian legend Michael Ironside as the one-eyed Zeus), he stumbles upon a long-lost pod containing the corpse of his favourite superhero, strips it of its helmet and weapons, and sets out to become the hero his planet needs.
Overall, the film plays out like a fairly faithful 100-minute extension of the initial short, but with even more actions scenes and elaborate versions of the gory gags from the original. It's light on story, with most of its meaty scenes focusing on the blossoming friendship between the kid and Apple (the latter of which ultimately steals the show here, thanks to the Trauma star's ability to make you fall for a character that seems like it was pulled straight out of a Jim Henson production), but what it lacks at times in dialogue and narrative, Turbo Kid makes up for two-fold with its attention to aesthetics.
From its grey-coloured landscape seemingly shot in the saddest parts of industrial Quebec, to the neon accents that make each of its protagonists pop when they're on screen, Turbo Kid is a totally engrossing and gross (How do you feel about torsos being blasted into the air and landing on top of one another?) feature that will ultimately leave as much of a mark on viewers' minds as the '80s flicks that inform the film.