Turbo Kid (2015)
Coming Soon To a Wasteland Near You!
So this is a rare situation. Usually, when movies hit theatrical runs, I keep them over into the "Quick Flicks" section of the site, so as to still be able to inform my opinion of the movie to others, but without having to deal with the story part and have to worry about potential spoilers (because I'm a nice guy like that). In the case of Turbo Kid, however, it's a very limited theatrical release - as in a single theater in the entirety of New York is playing it, and it's not near me. Thankfully, they thought ahead and made it available via a few streaming video-on-demand sites that gave me the ability to buy it and in turn show it myself (granted, I may have a projector but it's no movie theater). Still, since it made the weekly showing that means it also gets the weekly review. So then, if you do wish to avoid any potential spoilers, I'll just leave a link right here so you can bail from this to the QF variant for just my general opinion. For others however, let's figure out just how rad this movie is.
The world as we know it is gone. Acid rain has left the water toxic, and wars have left the world scarred and the population scarce. This is the year 1997. Enter the Kid. A lonely scavenger, doing what he can to survive in the harsh world. After grabbing some things and marking the expansion of the hostile area, he returns to his home. It's a clever little underground place, filled with the various flamingos and items he's collected over the years - including Turbo Rider memorabilia. He even manages to get himself a rat - even though it comes out fighting - to trade at the local hub of survivors. Our little hero is unaware of it now, but today is going to be one heck of a day...
This story doesn't belong entirely to our hero though - a master arm wrestling cowboy also takes time to introduce himself in a very Over the Top fashion. He's a water hunter, but his brother has gone missing - which is never a good thing. He goes to look for his brother, but it won't be long before his path crosses again with our hero. Meanwhile, the hero is reading a new comic he got on a swing set - where he gets quite the surprise when a girl chimes in sitting right next to him. She's a very energetic person, and the Kid is on edge even before he sees her talking to a corpse. Like any sane person, he runs away. He's in for a nasty shock when he tries to get the arm-band off that she placed on his wrist however.
Waking up, we find his new friend there. We get a bit of a montage that lays down a growing friendship for the two, but before things can get too friendly the girl is caught in a net! She yells for the Kid to run - which he promptly does - but during the high-speed bicycle pursuit the Kid looses control and crashes. He ends up falling through the ground and finding himself in some kind of ship underground. It's times like these that change a man's life as the Kid stumbles across the skeleton of the true Turbo Rider - complete with his powerful arm blaster. He could run, he could hide, but the Kid knows what he really wants to do - he wants to save his friend. The rest of our adventure primarily focuses on the rescue attempt, the consequences of that, and with some power of friendship ends up culminating into a heck of a climax.
To be entirely frank, there was a lot more to this movie than I originally thought it was going to be. From just the trailer when I first watched it, I expected it to be a Kung Fury style romp of nostalgic fun, but nothing really super substantial outside of the fun factor. What I ended up getting was actually a bit of a heart warming story complete with surprise reveals, some character growth, and super-duper over the top violence effects. Of those, I only thought I'd get the latter, which was fine with me because I love those outrageous B-movie style practical "overkill" effects, and the cheesy lasers and the likes hearken back to that old nostalgia that has a warm special place in my heart. It feels right at home with olden-day images of the future, and even with it's awesome amount of polish it still can't escape that retro feel.
When it comes to audio, the balance is pretty darn good. You can always hear what you should, and there's even nice audio queues to go along with some of the visual ones as throwbacks to a time long gone - such as Zelda hearts and "health low" beeps. Musically, I'm pretty sure the soundtrack only consists of four songs, but they are quite energetic (and one is even a throwback to the old bmx movie RAD), and they do a surprising job of adding some emotion to the scenes as well as working their way into your head - even though the lack of words on a bunch of them may make it rather hard to be recalling it throughout the day. Beyond that, one of my favorite things - quotable one-liners - exist in droves as well. If you don't end up looking for an excuse to shout "This is my gnome stick!" later on, then you can consider yourself a lucky one.
Actors do a great job of their roles as well. It's not so much that the acting needed to be phenomenal, and in some cases it's not nearly as awesome as the others, but it feels like just the right amount of cheese is layered in there to keep with it's rather goofy nature. Lines will be reused from one character to the next as they become appropriate for the situation, and there's enough time spent to develop at least two of the characters that it does feel like this could be the start to something great. The characters are all rather distinct in appearance as well, so you can always see at a glance who you are seeing. Some of those costumes are pretty snazzy as well, at least for a retro-future style.
Overall, I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed this movie. It's a bit like someone mashed Mad Max, Kung Fury, and Scott Pilgrim vs The World all into one movie. It has B-movie over-exaggerated practical violence in a post-apocalyptic setting where BMX bikes are the way of the road, with plenty of references to retro things (gaming and otherwise) with a layer of humor and over-exaggerated characters that makes it so easy to enjoy watching. Granted, that super-soaker high-pressure blood sprays might not be the best thing for the younger audience to watch, but that's more up to their guardians to figure out not me. Overall, I'd without a doubt say most would have fun with this movie - so it's at least worth a rental when it gets to that stage - or even a buy.