Turbo Kid on VOD, maybe opening soon

August 27, 2015

The bad news. Turbo Kid is not opening in Arkansas today.

The good news? It is available on video on demand.

The bad news? It’s really the sort of movie you ought to see in a theater, with like-minded strangers. (That might be a possibility. Watch this space.) When I watched it earlier this year, via a review link graciously proviced by the filmmakers, in advance of it’s screening at the Little Rock Film Festival, I was bemused. Charmed. Entertained. Delighted. (I watched it again recently. Same pleasant reaction.)

But I was able to retain a certain distance from the movie, I wasn’t experiencing it from the inside out. I was acutely aware of the distance between my reality and the pretend world of the film. It was an intellectual pleasure, an appreciation. And this is a movie that deserves more than that. It deserves midnight showings and fans dressing up as their favorite characters. It deserves things thrown at its screen. It deserves a messier sort of adulation than you’ll likely be able to muster from the comfort of your living room. So at the very least, if you can’t manage to see it in a theater with a bunch of rowdy strangers, at least invite your goofiest, nerdiest friends over to share the experience.

maxresdefaultThat said, let me get to the movie. It’s one of those apocalyptic action sci-fi/horror films, a kind of mash-up of Mad Max, Raider of the Lost Ark and BMX Bandits. It’s an affectionate satireof B-movies set in the wasteland of 1997 made by by the Montreal film collective Roadkill Superstars (RKSS).

It follows the adventures of “The Kid” (Munro Chambers), a scavenger seemingly more interested in collecting vintage comic books than anything else. The Kid has a pretty good set-up in his abandoned fall-out shelter, for the most part he’s able to feed himself while flying under the radar of the visious “Zeus”(Michael Ironside, at this point more special effect than actual character), the warlord who controls the sector.

One days he encounters the hilarious enigmatic Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), a quirky girl with whom he develops a sweet, chaste rapport, Naturally, she soon kidnapped by Zeus and our hero must engage with the harsh realities of this ugly and violent world. Luckily he happens to stumble on the uniform of a “Turbo Rider,”that comes equipped with a complete with the incredibly powerful “turbo glove.” Armed thusly, The Kid ventures off to face Zeus.

But the plot is really beside the point, what really matters is how lovingly the filmmakers have recreated the milieu of a cheaply made but sincerely meant B-movie — down to the matte paintings that take the place of cheap CGI (though there are computer effects in the film) and a synth score by Le Matos . The movie’s aesthetic is nostalgic but not mocking; in a way Turbo Kid is reminiscent of the work of the musician Pokey Lafarge. It feels like a recovered relic, but it’s actually a fresh work that doesn’t condescend to its influences. It’s as gory and exurberant as its sources, and only about twice as smart.

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