So last Friday night I watched one of the best low budget sci fi epics I’ve seen in a very long time. I think had I seen this movie when I was 10 years old I’d probably still look at it as a classic now. As it stands, this movie didn’t exist when I was 10. In fact, the movie in question just came out last year. Turbo Kid was a Canadian/New Zealand joint effort directed by Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell about a teenage boy surviving on his own in some desolate post-apocalyptic wasteland. He befriends a teenage girl and they come across an evil warlord(the eye patch-wearing Michael Ironside) and an Indiana Jones-like arm wrestling champ; as well as a plethora of colorful Mad Max-type goons and plenty of cartoonish gore in the vein of The Evil Dead series. The kid comes into a situation where he needs to step up and become the hero, so thanks to his love of the comic book hero “Turbo Rider”, the kid becomes Turbo Kid.
Heroics, action, violence, and revenge ensue.
Honestly, I loved this movie. It’s like all of those amazing action/adventure flicks from the 80s that had kids getting their act together and saving the day. The Last Starfighter, Goonies, Explorers, Cloak and Dagger, E.T.; as well as more adult fare like The Road Warrior, The Wraith, Knightriders, Megaforce, and Night of the Comet are just a few of the movies that came to mind as I watched Turbo Kid.
Not only did the movie look good for being a small flick, but the acting was great for this sort of fare. Munro Chambers was great as “The Kid” that becomes “Turbo Kid”. And Laurence Leboeuf as Apple was amazing. Had I seen this when I was 10 I would’ve totally given up on Princess Leia and completely fallen for Apple. Leboeuf conveyed a child-like innocence while also keeping an air of mystery around Apple. Michael Ironside does bad guys justice in movies where he portrays one himself, and Turbo Kid is no different. His character of Zeus is the perfect mix of menacing post-apocalyptic warlord and cartoonish evil monster. Thank you Michael Ironside for all you do. And Aaron C. Jeffrey’s Frederick is a cross between Indiana Jones, Mad Max, and apparently Sylvester Stallone in Over The Top. Perfect mix of anti-hero swagger and unlikely mentor to Turbo Kid.
Of course, I probably would’ve never even given this movie a chance had it not been for the amazing soundtrack by Le Matos. It’s a fully synthesized affair that brings to mind Tangerine Dream, Vangelis, and a heavy dose of early 80s synth pop. At times it’s very reminiscent of the amazing work Cliff Martinez did on the Drive S/T. You can almost see the montages happening as you listen to this great double LP. Kid meets girl, Kid finds inner strength, Kid becomes Turbo Kid,….you get the gist. Montreal’s Le Matos seem like they found just the right tone with the music. Nothing too dark or too cartoonish. You’ve got the dramatic and the lighthearted. Quieter moments and chest-pumping, fists in the air bombast all come together beautifully here.
This will be the soundtrack to beat this year. It’s nearly a 10 out of 10.
So yes, I love Turbo Kid. I love the movie for how it makes me feel. How it takes me back to being a kid and discovering what the cinema could do to me. It pulls those emotions out you don’t expect. It makes you root for the good guys and cheer when the bad guys get what’s coming to them. I’d love to see further adventures with Turbo Kid. And I also loved this soundtrack. It makes me feel the same way the movie did, much like the Drive S/T did. It’s a beautifully produced record and the music sounds absolutely amazing on vinyl. A great soundtrack, and a great synth pop record. Period.
Wastelands have never been so good.
9.5 out of 10