Anyone who knows me knows I have an enormous appetite for 80’s movies/music/aesthetic and, although I cannot explain this love fully, it has inspired and guided many of my own artistic aspirations. The journey to this movie started with music: I was looking for something new to listen to on my Pandora station and came across Timecop1983 in all it’s space-ephemera-synthwave-goodness. As I was listening and jotting down other bands to check out later Le Matos- Chronicles of the Wastelands/Turbo Kid Original Motion Picture Soundtrack came up and I dropped my pen–original motion picture soundtrack meant that there might be a movie connected to this music I was now obsessed with. To the internet I went! And lo and behold, there is a movie called Turbo Kid–AND it’s on Netflix!
So two lunch breaks later and I have consumed this movie entirely, and enjoyed it thoroughly–now, I will admit, it is nothing spectacularly clever or new in the genre of post apocalyptic survival movies but I don’t think it needs to be. The plot of lone wolf type just trying to get by in a ravaged world, who eventually makes contact with another human, and eventually defeats a sadistic war lord is pretty simple to the point of cliche (Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Escape from New York, The Quiet Earth) But this movie does two things that make the simple plot work and make an enjoyable film.
First, The Kid is just that–a kid who has used toys to help comfort him as he survives. There is just something more compelling about a kid trying to survive during desperate times than an adult, and while this Kid is around 17 you find out through the course of the movie why he’s on his own and that he has been since he was very small. Also having the character be a kid means in addition to over throwing the evil warlord trope there are also opportunities for the kid to grow up through events in the story which adds a layer to the simple story. While mostly this movie is ridiculous there are some poignant moments between The Kid and Apple (a rather strange girl who shows up and demands they are friends) as their relationship evolves.
The second thing this movie does that only enhances the tropes used is that it is juuuuust this side of over the top. Frankly, the gore is ridiculous. You literally watch a man’s intestines pulled out of his stomach by a henchman on a bicycle contraption–it sounds gross but really, I just laughed. There are also blown up torso’s that land on other characters during the final battle that just…I had to pause the movie to take that in. I appreciate this ridiculousness because it allows the film to sort of laugh at itself and not take itself too seriously.
In all, it is a nice homage to a very strange vein of movies from the 80’s and 90’s and definitely benefits from ‘less is more’. I’m not sure if this movie is for anyone who doesn’t already like these kinds of movies but if you do it is worth checking out.