TURBO KID [Edinburgh Film Festival]

PrintE-mail Written by Andrew Marshall

A feature-length expansion of the short film T is for Turbo made for the open contest for The ABCs of Death, Turbo Kid takes place in the familiar kind of post-apocalyptic setting where civilisation is a polite suggestion and a desolate world is ruled over by biker gangs. Only in this case, the bikes are of the pedal variety, thus giving us Mad Max on BMXs.

Surviving alone in this wasteland is the nameless Kid. Dreaming of being a superhero and standing up to the roving marauders, he happens across the underground lair of comic book star Turbo Rider (be assured this makes no more sense within the context of the film) and appropriates the dead hero’s gauntlet that can fire blasts of flesh-exploding energy balls, subsequently setting out to use his newfound power to take on psychotic overlord Zeus.

The films has a deliberately ‘80s feel to it, from setting it in the far-flung future of 1997 (Escape from New York reference, perhaps?) to the patchwork costumes, cheap-looking sets and scoring the action with synth music and power ballads. There’s also the appearance of a weapon that looks like the glaive from Krull made out of razors. Just because.

The overarching doom and gloom is relieved by the Kid teaming up with the perpetually cheerful Apple, who is something of a manic pixie dream girl with the emphasis very much on the first part, her perpetually upbeat optimism actually becoming quite endearing, and the pair have great chemistry together that at least partially sustains the world’s waning reserves of humanity.

There is a gleeful volume of gore on display with regular decapitations, dismemberments, detonations and eviscerations, all done in the name of depraved humour. The end result comes across as something Sam Raimi might have churned out in his early years if he’d gone for sci-fi instead of horror, but unfortunately without the promise of emerging talent. The film also has the unfortunate timing to have appeared in the wake of Kung Fury, which so thoroughly owned all previous and subsequent attempts at histrionic nostalgia-baiting everyone else should just give up even trying.

While comically-excessive violence is quite entertaining in most situations, in scenes that are supposed to be emotionally poignant it’s unwelcome and actually rather inappropriate, creating a tonal dissonance that robs them of their true impact. Turbo Kid is completely ridiculous and undemanding fun, but would be vastly improved if it could decide just how much fun it’s actually trying to be.

TURBO KID / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: FANÇOIS SIMARD, ANOUK WHISSELL, YOANN-KARL WHISSELL/ STARRINIG: MUNRO CHAMBERS, LAURENCE LEBOEUF, AARON JEFFERY, MICHELLE IRONSIDE, EDWIN WRIGHT / RELEASE DATE: TBC

Expected Rating: 7 out of 10

Actual Rating:
 


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