The last 10 years have shown that the 1980s will never get old. There is a lot of movies and music around that has the look, the sound, and the feel of the 80s. Some of it has been pretty lame (Kung Fury, Manborg), some of it has been awesome (The Guest, Fathers Day, Drive). Turbo Kid from 2015 is not only awesome, but it is also superb.
The story is set in the far future of 1997 when the world will be a wasteland after a nuclear war destroys civilizations, natch. We start a day in the life of the hero – The Kid. The Kid scavenges waste for useful items to help him survive, and to trade at the local stand-in for Barter Town.
The Kid is a fan of a hero from the past called Turbo Rider, who he mimics with the way he dresses. We learn that a tyrant named Zeus controls large sections of the wasteland and the normal people try to avoid his area of control. Zeus not only causes most of the misery for the survivors in the area but is also the reason The Kid is an orphan.
One day The Kid meets a seemingly insane girl who aggressively attaches herself to him as a friend. It turns out she is a “friendship model ” Robot named Apple. Apple gets captured by Zeus and The Kid gets away. He stumbles upon the buried, crashed ship of the real Turbo Rider and takes his gear… which includes a wrist laser weapon.
The Kid goes to Zeus’ compound and blunders the rescue attempt and gets tossed into an arena with Apple and some other captives to fight to the death. I’m going to hold off explaining anymore of the plot so it doesn’t ruin it for you.
Turbo Kid is full of some of the most fun characters of any movie I have seen since. My favorite is the henchman for Zeus, named Skeletron. He doesn’t say a word during the entire movie, but his physical acting is impressive. He is one of my all-time favorite movie villains.
Apple is the heart of the movie and I dare you not to fall in love with the character. The chemistry between her and The Kid is great and you get truly invested in their relationship.
Now, here is the reason I really love the movie. It is ultra-violent! The gore level goes beyond the D-Day landing of Saving Private Ryan. It is an absolute blood bath. I can’t exaggerate how gory this film is.
I love the mix of a movie made to seem like a light-hearted kid’s cartoon from the 80s and a slaughterhouse. Mwah! Chef’s kiss. Perfection. We get to see a character rip a mook’s bottom jaw off, then shove it through that mook’s eye sockets. What else ya want?
The film is firmly in the action-comedy genre and it is very much meant to remind you of a B-movie, a straight-to-VHS film from the 1980s. That said, its quality far exceeds what it is paying tribute to.
Now, even with all the action and gore and comedy, there is a real heartfelt story in Turbo Kid that I am not going to ruin for you. There is more going on here than just stupid “Hey remember the 80s ? Haha – let’s have some random goofy gag!”
I’m looking at you, Kung Fury, you piece of dogshit.