EIFF 2015 – Turbo Kid

Jul 1, 2015 | Posted by in EIFF 2015
EIFF 2015

The writing/directing trio François Simard, Anouk Whissell, Yoann-Karl Whissell bring post apocalyptic film Turbo Kid to life.

Before you groan at another addition to the saturated market of post apocalyptic fiction this one has a bit of a twist. The film is made as something of a love letter to old school post apocalyptic cheese.

The year is 1997 and the world ended quite some time ago so all that’s left is a lawless wasteland where people have to scavenge to survive. Water is the most precious commodity as the majority of Earth’s water supply has been contaminated.

As setups go it will feel familiar to anyone who’s seen a post apocalyptic story before but as I said above that’s sort of the point. Tonally the film completely runs with the cheesy concept and tries to have a lot of fun with it. The violence is over the top and cartoonish, the dialogue is overly dramatic and everyone rides around on BMXes with no explanation given.

Our inroad to this bizarre world is the Kid (Munro Chambers), a young boy who lives on his own and scavenges for things to trade for water. We see early on that he keeps the things he thinks look cool and has built quite the collection. Naturally as a kid he loves comic books and is particularly inspired by a superhero called the Turbo Rider who has a magic glove that he uses to fight.

Turbo KidHe gets the opportunity to emulate his hero when he finds a real crashed Turbo Rider vehicle and takes the glove to use for himself. To give you an idea of what to expect here the glove is a painted Nintendo Power glove. It’s an immensely powerful weapon that can vapourise people in a single shot so as you can imagine it really comes in handy in this “kill or be killed” sort of society. You would think this would be a standard “hero’s journey” tale but the glove seems to be largely used as an excuse for excessive cartoonish violence.

Chambers does a good job and fits this sort of role well. He comes across as confident and smart while having the right level of self awareness to his performance that fits the tone of this world perfectly. He proves to have an impressive sense of comic timing as he rattles off one liners while facing down legions of bad guys.

Laurence Leboeuf stars as Apple, a young girl who latches onto the Kid after running into him by chance. Initially she seems irritating but I found myself warming up to her as the Kid did over time. There’s something about her awkward optimism and overall naivety that’s quite infectious. Her character has some of the best comedic moments in the film due to her awkwardness. There is a reason given within the narrative for her acting so strangely but it comes across as a surprise so I won’t give it away.

Leboeuf is excellent in this role as she fully commits to the silliness of the film and her character in general. Her timing on the comedy is spot on and she has good chemistry with Munro Chambers. Apple completely fits into this worled and Leboeuf is a big part of the reason why.

The central villain, Zeus is played by Michael Ironside who 100% throws himself into this role and hams it up beautifully for the cameras. Zeus is a sadist who enjoys inflicting pain in the most extreme way possible. Watching Ironside chew scenery in every scene is an absolute delight and easily overcomes the 1 dimensional nature of the character he plays.

In general this film doesn’t have a lot of apparent depth but the beauty of it is that it actually does. It’s incredibly tongue in cheek, intentionally over the top and filled with self referential humour. It’s so finely crafted that the amount of effort involved to make all of this work doesn’t really show. The world built for this film is very well realised and internally consistent. The world skillfully blends the tropes of post apocalyptic and superhero narratives in a way that manages to be a lot of fun throughout. Everything down to the retro synth score and dodgy special effects just adds to the magic. At times some scenes have a tendency to drag on past the point being made but this happens so rarely that it’s hardly worth mentioning.

I’d definitely recommend this one. It’s a lot of fun from start to finish with characters that are engaging and a world that is well built from the beginning.

  • 9.5/10
    Turbo Kid - 9.5/10


A really fun and well crafted film that never ceases to be entertaining.

Everything about the retro style works really well from the BMX dominated post apocalyptic future to the cheesy special effects during the hilarious cartoonishly violent action sequences. A classic synth score helps to punctuate the retro feel of the whole thing.

The actors all do a great job for this sort of film with special attention to be paid to Michael Ironside who clearly has a blast chewing the scenery in every scene he appears. He’s such a great villain that there should be more of him.

There’s a lot of hidden depth to this film and I loved how it seamlessly combined post apocalyptic and superhero tropes into a cohesive and memorable narrative complete with fun characters who fit perfectly into the style of the overall package. At times the film does tend to drag scenes on past where the point had been made but this is rare.

Definitely check this one out. It’s definitely a lot of fun and is sure to entertain throughout the relatively short running time.

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Also, this film has nothing to do with Turboman from Jingle All The Way but I’ll take any excuse to fire a picture of Arnie in costume on a review so…enjoy.

Turbo Kid

It’s Tuerbo Time! (not a spelling mistake, it’s my best phonetic interpretation of how Arnie says it)