Friday, September 4, 2015

[Review] Turbo Kid

Straight outta New Zealand, Turbo Kid is one of the those slightly hidden gems of the year with potential cult appeal--a mini-Mad Max, if you will.

The land is drenched in desolate grays, and the world is essentially a gigantic junkyard of rusted metal and human skulls. The narrator concludes the opening with a chuckle-worthy line: "This is the year 1997." The immediate camp sets the tone when we meet The Kid (Munro Chambers) as he searches through rubble and gets attacked by a hairless rat that looks like something out of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive. He befriends a chippy humanoid girl named Apple, but she is quickly captured by ravagers and taken to the hoard of a mean one-eyed villain (it's not Fetty Wap) that is hogging the water supply (Fury Road much?). The Kid then stumbles upon a Mega Man like suit that can shoot lasers, and he plans to bust up into the joint.

Turbo Kid is unabashed in its 80s B-movie aesthetic, from the melodra-cheesy acting kitsch, the over-the-top cartoony gore (blood squirts out of people's bodies like fountains of red food-colored water), and especially the lively soundtrack of robotic synths and wailing hair metal guitars. But I'll clarify--just because this contains the B-movie ticket, doesn't mean it's cheaply made or haphazardly rendered. In fact, there's wonderful attention to detail, and the film is very creative in its visual style and cinematography. It's all so enthusiastically and lovingly crafted, and you get the impression that the filmmakers had a blast making it.

So, it's only fitting that there is an immense affection for the film's characters (both protagonists and antagonists), and there is a surprising amount of heart within the story. I don't want to indicate any spoilers, but you know how things go with robots and emotions in movies sometimes. This isn't for everyone, but if it sounds like the sort of thing you'll enjoy, hop on it.


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