The future is… THEN! What started out as a runner-up short for the ABC’s of Death franchise (T is for Turbo) has thankfully been granted an oh-so rare second chance at life—reincarnated as a feature length film courtesy of Epic Pictures Group—and every last one of us should get down on our rainbow colored knee pads in thanks because this is one superhero origin story you won’t want to miss.
Turbo Kid is a film that begs the question: “What do you get when you mix design aesthetics somewhere between Solarbabies and Prayer of the Rollerboys, the post-apocalyptic setting and “colorful” villains of the Mad Max franchise, and the stunt choreography of BMX Bandits?” Well… the answer would normally be “A horrendous piece of crap,” but—thankfully—that’s not the case here. Co-directors/writers François Simard, Anouk Whissell and Yoann-Karl Whissell managed to catch lightning in a bottle (along with one of cinema’s all-time greatest villains, Michael Ironside) with this one, magically transporting you back to the bleak future of your formative years…the ravaged, gang-ridden wasteland of 1997. And it is every bit as awesome as we remembered it.
Yes, while Snake Plissken was busy escaping New York, a new hero was rising from the ashes of a place known only to us as “The Wasteland” (which arguably looks like a mix of the crappier parts of Canada & New Zealand… huh, wonder why that is?). A lawless place, The Wasteland is governed by a tyrannical warlord (Ironside) with a legion (and by “legion,” I mean 7 or 8 guys) of BMX riding baddies, making the survivors’ already hellish existence just that much worse. Enter TURBO KID—formerly just mild-mannered, comic book hero worshipping “The Kid”—brandishing a beacon of hope in the form of a REALLY gnarly lazer gauntlet that pops bad guys like zits (after it’s batteries recharge, naturally)!
I’m NOT going to talk specific plot details because, despite its short running time, one thing it’s not short on plot twists. The less you know going in, the better. I will confess, though… “This is my GNOME STICK!!!” has become a new household favorite. In fact, I’d say it’s a damn good bet that if you’re reading this right now on this particular site, Turbo Kid will be right up your alley and I encourage you to seek this out via whatever (legal) means available to you, if for no other reason than to support these filmmakers for the GALLONS of blood, sweat and tears they tirelessly spent making sure that YOU get something wonderfully infused with tropes and visuals aimed squarely at tickling your ‘nostalgia bone.’
More than that, we should be supporting ALL independent artists—filmmakers or otherwise—because while passion may drive them to complete a project, in the end, it won’t keep the lights on. Just ask any independent creative-type. We’re living in a radical time, my friends, where beloved R-rated film franchises are roaring back to life; vinyl and VHS are making an unprecedented comeback; and Synthwave, a genre of electronic music wholly inspired by the great movie scores of our youth, is ever-growing in its popularity. And, of course, there’s a rising crop of phenomenally talented filmmakers—many of whom working outside the cannibalistic studio system culture thanks to crowdfunding—like Adam Wingard’s The Guest and David Sandberg’s Kung Fury.
The world we live in is far more bleak than any post-apocalyptic fantasy Hollywood’s dreamt up to date. Concepts like “innocence” and “joy” are commodities we’ve unwittingly traded in favor of “financial security” and “corporate viability.” For quite a few of us, the future—a BETTER future anyway—truly is “then.” And that means not only finding the courage to re-embrace what we never truly meant to leave behind in childhood days gone by, but to lend our support to the likeminded creators that have kept the torches burning all these years. After all, there’s plenty of room in the clubhouse for everybody.