“This is the future, the year 1997!” so we’re told by Turbo Kid’s opening voiceover and the apocalypse has come and gone. Self-styled hero Turbo Kid (Munro Chambers), still traumatised by the murder of his parents by local despot and water magnate Zeus (Michael Ironside), lives in an underground bunker, venturing out to scavenge the wasteland astride his BMX bike for kitsch trinkets of the past (Rubik’s Cubes, garden gnomes, Walkmans and comics, etc) that he can trade with local merchant Bagu (Romano Orzari) in return for fresh-ish drinking water.

While scavenging one day he meets the relentlessly cheerful and perky Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), a strange, pink-haired girl with a secret, who declares them best friends and won’t be shaken off. At first irritated by her, the Kid soon warms to his new companion and when she’s kidnapped by Zeus and his rag-tag army of BMX-riding psychopaths, the Kid finds himself doing what a man’s gotta do, rescuing her and grizzled adventurer Frederick the Arm-Wrestler (Aaron Jeffery) from the arena where Zeus has his opponents ‘juiced’ – dismembered, squished, squelched and ground up for the water their bodies contain – before escaping into the bad lands with Zeus and his men in hot pursuit…

A smug, faux-80s exercise in kitsch retro satire, whether you love or hate Turbo Kid (and I pretty much hated it…), it’s exactly what you’d imagine you’d get if a bunch of bourgeois hipster twat film geeks spent the afternoon in a disused quarry with an old VHS Camcorder remaking every single dodgy video they ever rented in their childhoods.

Equal parts BMX Bandits, every Z-grade Italian Mad Max rip-off Cinecittà every churned out and a big dollop of Spacehunter: Adventures In The Forbidden Zone (the mighty Michael Ironside is, after all, the villain), Turbo Kid is blandly shot in a series of derelict factories and warehouses, it’s deliberately cheesy special effects and budgetary thriftiness lending it an authenticity that allows it to look exactly like the kind of cheap Golan-Globus-type knock-off it’s aping and, with the exception of one rather creative torture scene involving disembowelment by bicycle, it’s lacklustre, slapstick action scenes are boring and repetitive.

As the Kid, Degrassi alumnus Chambers is pretty colourless while Leboeuf couldn’t be more relentlessly kooky and annoying if she flayed Zooey Deschanel and wore her skin like some kind of Buffalo Bill-esque Zooey Deschanel suit while playing Smells Like Teen Spirit on the ukulele. Aaron Jeffery meanwhile seems to have wandered in on his way to Snowy River as a curiously Antipodean tough guy (it is a Canadian/Kiwi co-production) whose respect the Kid wins while Ironside chews the scenery with gusto as the eyepatch-sporting baddie.

From it’s splatterific gore and geysers of fountaining blood to it’s ‘80s-style synth-tastic score, Turbo Kid is a gleefully violent sci-fi romp that’s trying a little too hard to be the instant cult movie it’s ecstatic reviews at SXSW and this year’s Edinburgh Film Festival have already anointed it. You’re going to read a lot of reviews that praise Turbo Kid’s lunacy and it’s creativity but if you lived through the ‘80s and spent your school holidays watching movies like Hell Comes To Frogtown, Trancers, Bad Taste, The Adventures Of Buckaroo Banzai, Metalstorm, Killer Klowns From Outer Space, Ice Pirates and Eliminators, all Turbo Kid is going to inspire is a nostalgic desire to go out and find a copy of Spacehunter.

Frightfest London review: Turbo Kid
1.0Overall Score
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