Turbo Kid (2015)

This is just your typical BMX warrior, robot romance, comic book, 90s direct-to-video homage, Power Rangers ripoff, post-apocalyptic parody, Michael Ironside movie.

Mind you, as far as I know, there’s only one of them.

In the crumbling world of the future, everyone gets around on bikes, even the ruthless gangs who seemed to have escaped from The Road Warrior.  Apparently, they brought with them an evil steel skull-masked henchman with the ultimate home handyman’s weaponized power tool, and are working for the local warlord, Zeus, who just happens to be played by everyone’s favorite direct to video villain from the 80s and 90s, Michael Ironside (you have to love the mask he wears on big occasions, based on ancient Greek statues of Zeus).

Meanwhile a young kid, struggling to scavenge a living out of the wasteland meets a mysterious girl named Apple who is a lot more than she appears at first.

But when Zeus’ men kidnap her, the kid stumbles across the secret lair of the last of the Turbo Rangers, who once fought the hordes of killer robots used in the last war – oh, and even had their own comic book.  There he finds one of their power gauntlets – and a Turbo Ranger suit.

And, of course, declares himself a superhero and goes off to rescue the girl.

It’s hard to know what to think of this one.  Despite the title and the young hero, this is definitely not a children’s movie.  While it is often described as a comedy, it seems only sporadically funny.  Ironically, the bicycles seem one of the stronger elements of the film (with all of the bike road warrior battles well-staged and believable) – and the Turbo Riders by far the weakest – and not just because of their bright red uniforms!  And if there weren’t enough discordant elements already, they threw in the most ridiculously overdone gore effects ever.  Seriously, they deserve some sort of award (a Razzie, I hope) for the scene in which one gang member gets cut in two, and his upper half ends up jammed down on one barbarian’s head – and his lower half on another.

Seriously.

Still, there is a lot going for this one, and it’s hard not to cheer when Michael finally swings into action with a sudden surprise revelation which was so obvious that we wouldn’t have bothered guessing.  And you have to give a film credit when it manages to cram in not one but two references to Soylent Green (most cinephiles will, naturally spot the second, with its quote of Charlton Heston’s final line from the film, but how many will recognize the first?)

my-breakfast-cereal-is

It isn’t as good as some of its fans have suggested – and they must have used enough fake blood to have filmed every Italian Mad Max ripoff of the 90s.  I mean, really, was Tom Savini cleaning out his basement?  But it is entertaining even when it is discordant, and there are a lot of clever ideas on display.

So it is worth seeing even if it really doesn’t work.  And François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell all deserve kudos for ignoring what their sensible friends told them and making this odd little film anyway.

(Photo above used solely for review purposes, as a fair use under the current copyright conventions)

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