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  Turbo Kid BMX Fandits
Year: 2015
Director: François Simard, Anouk and Yoann-Karl Whissell
Stars: Munro Chambers, Laurence Laboeuf, Michael Ironside, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffrey, Romano Orzari, Orphée Ladouceur, Steeve Léonard, Yves Corbeil, Evan Manoukian, Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Tyler Hall, Martin Paquette, Pierre Sigouin
Genre: Action, Science Fiction, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: The year is 1997, and the world has been laid waste in an apocalypse that saw water as the most precious commodity around – clean, drinkable water, that is, not the acid rain that falls on the land and is more poisonous than useful. Among the survivors scraping by is the BMX-riding Kid (Munro Chambers), who stays alone in his shelter surrounded by the pop culture relics he could scavenge from the debris of civilisation, though he remains on the lookout for items he can barter with in return for H2O. However, there’s someone who will be making life even more difficult for people, the gang leader Zeus (Michael Ironside) whose ravagers roam the territory, picking them up for their own nefarious use…

In the year that Mad Max returned to cinema screens, it was only fitting that the Mad Mix rip-offs should make a comeback as well, and Turbo Kid was one of those. Though it was more a rip-off of the rip-offs, part of the movement to recreate the entertainments of the nineteen-eighties (and other eras too) that emerged in the twenty-first century, often meant to be indulged ironically in appreciation of the kitsch of the past when everything strained to be as awesome as possible, even when the results were not quite as overwhelming as wished. But that feeling of being a child again, and enjoying the more dunderheaded entertainment without needing to analyse that enjoyment, was central to the spirit of these nostalgic film and video makers.

There was a difference when taking in Turbo Kid, and that was the material it was paying homage to was made by cynics more keen on making profits with a tried and tested formula, unwilling to push any artistic boundaries and with both eyes on the commerce. Churn these out cheap and watch the cash roll in from grindhouse box office takings and home video sales and rentals, that was the tenet of those business models, yet nobody told the consumers watching these at the time that they were supposed to be pandering to the lowest common denominator to fleece them, to those viewers this was an ideal way to kill ninety minutes, and that emotion was something the three directors of Turbo Kid had succeeded in evoking to a tee.

Nevertheless, you needed a liking for what this was harking back to in order to truly have a good time with it, otherwise the joke would go over your head – or under your nose. And yet, that utter lack of cynicism was its most defining tone, summed up in the companion robot who latches onto The Kid. She was Apple, delightfully essayed by Laurence Laboeuf as a bubbly, slightly manic and possibly dangerous best friend, designed to keep her owner company at all costs: by the point she has met him we have to assume she has seen many pals (you hesitate to call them clients) bite the dust, but with The Kid she may have finally found someone who she can stay with given how resourceful he is in the face of Zeus and his hordes of deadly henchmen. Their manner of bringing water back is horribly ingenious, and just the sort of notion that would have fit with the inspirations.

Turbo Kid actually started life as a segment of the anthology horror movie The ABCs of Death which the creative trio behind this were offered a higher budget to capitalise on, though it wasn’t exactly blockbuster levels. That lack of funds contributed to its authentic mood, which though essentially a spoof at first glance, was on closer examination so sincere that it grew more disarming with each passing scene, everyone down to the supporting cast like arm-wrestling Man with No Name type Aaron Jeffrey and the silent, skull-helmeted Skeletron (Edwin Wright) all well aware of what they were here for. That Ironside, no stranger to appearing in eighties horror and sci-fi himself, was there too was the icing on the cake, and he pitched it just right as well, acting as everyone did to complement the abundant and gory special effects, bodies being carved up with wild abandon in a manner not realistic, but full of spectacle as was proper to the tribute. It was funny to say it, but Turbo Kid was made with a lot more love than countless other efforts, no matter the budget. As was customary now, a great synth score (by Le Matos) was part of the amusement.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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