Turbo Kid (film review by Frank Ochieng).

Now who would think that the kiddie-inspired, Science Fiction post-apocalyptic ‘Turbo Kid’ could motivate one’s appetite for nostalgic cheese-ridden action yarns? Well, the directing/writing trio of Francois Simard, Yoann-Karl Wissell and Anouk Wissell deliver the devilish gaudy goods in this frolicking futuristic fantasy that begs for audiences to reminisce about such off-beat and clichéd guilty pleasures that are so goofy-minded and gory but infectiously high-spirited for one’s disturbed liking.

Instinctively, ‘Turbo Kid’ looks to shrewdly ridicule the jolting junk cinema with its homage to such trashy treasures ranging from the lopsided likes of gems ‘The New Barbarians’ and 2019,  ‘After The Fall Of New York’ to even saluting high-minded 80’s roguish schlock such as the international cult favorite ‘The Road Warrior’. Fortified with kinetic kookiness and an off-kilter preference for its cockeyed convictions, ‘Turbo Kid’ generates an appealing penchant for cheeky outlandishness that we all relish in our taste for low-grade, salacious cinema.  


Astutely, ‘Turbo Kid’ sets out to do what it is compelled to do and that is to trigger the hungry imagination for yesteryear’s yearning for those gloriously cheapened, low-budgeted cornball capers that oddly registered with the fanboys’ appreciation for convoluted, sensationalistic big screen cheeseball escapism that this unruly genre provided on many occasions for the sanctioned unintentional chuckles.  The gruesome threesome of Simard and the Wissells refreshingly never shy away from the bombastic serving of violence and hokey-minded hedonism  that are the true trademark of throwaway entertainment at its finest.

As the lone wolf adolescent in the distant future of 1997, the orphaned Kid (‘Degrassi: The Next Generation’s Munro Chambers) survives in a tattered world defaced by ominous components of Mother Nature (namely acid rain) and the aftermath results of nuclear destruction. The existence for The Kid, frankly speaking, is bleak and nothing to write home about enthusiastically. Nevertheless, he keeps himself engaged with what he likes to do consistently whether it is chilling out in his bomb shelter-style quarters, riding freely on his BMX bike or browsing comic books–particularly his favorite issue of ‘Turbo Man’ .

Of course things become quite interesting for The Kid when he meets up with the ever-so-quirky Apple (Laurence Labeouf), a young woman whose strangeness and mysterious backstory becomes an attractive magnet for the soon-to-be daring hero. The opportunity arises for The Kid to show his heroic chops (much like his idol Turbo Man) when his galpal Apple’s safety is jeopardized by resident fiend Zeus (Michael Ironside). Not only does the diabolical Zeus kidnap Apple but looks to manipulate and dictate the region’s precious water supply. Naturally, this does not sit well with the miffed Kid as he already harbors resentment towards Zeus based on past unkind dealings with the Villainous One.

As luck would have it The Kid discovers what appears to be Turbo Man’s powered costume and arsenal of skills. Conveniently, this is enough to transform the youngster into a formidable force to take on the dastardly Zeus, restore the honor of the loopy Apple and save the day in general. Not too bad for a wandering cad that escaped his reality in a reliable comicbook only to become a real-life comicbook rescuer in the form of his worshiped mentor Turbo Man.

Let's get things into TURBO speed and celebrate good times, shall we?
Let’s get things into TURBO speed and celebrate good times, shall we?

Sure, the mayhem and mockery is indeed over-the-top and as lame as the proceedings are in reality one still cannot stop from looking away. ‘Turbo Kid’, with its bloody wackiness in tow, toasts its creative absurdity proudly. The corrosive camp factor works because the mindset is geared for unapologetic subversion into a flagrant fantasy that wears its badge of debauchery with sordid honor. The exaggerated and bizarre displays of colorful chaos as drowned out in crazy-minded outfits, challenging bike chases, manufactured doom-and-gloom predicaments and the basic plodding of good versus evil make ‘Turbo Kid’ an ambitiously naughty and boisterous delight. Clearly, the filmmakers demonstrate their affinity for the aforementioned off-balanced furious-minded fluff of the 80s and early 90s that invaded video shelves the same way weary soldiers approached the unknown shores of Normandy.  Combative, unconventional and guaranteed to impale one’s exposed guts on a spiked iron fence ‘Turbo Kid’ is weird and wonderful if only for the afterglow of basking in the art of dimwitted decadence so lovingly realised in the not-so-forgettable impulsive retro flicks of shining shame from the years past.

Turbo Kid (2015)

EMA Films

1 hr 33 mins.

Starring: Munro Chambers, Laurence Labeouf, Michael Ironside, Edwin Wright, Romano Orzari and Aaron Jeffery

Directed by: Francois Simard, Anouk Wissell and Yoann-Karl Wissell

MPAA Rating: Unrated

Genre: Science Fiction/Post Apocalyptic Action and Adventure

Critic’s rating: *** stars (out of 4 stars)

(c) Frank Ochieng



Frank Ochieng has contributed film reviews to SF Crowsnest off and on since 2003. He has been published in other various movie site venues throughout the years. Ochieng has been part of The Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and had written film reviews for The Boston Banner newspaper (USA) and frequently is a media/entertainment panelist on WBZ NewsRadio 1030 AM on "The Jordan Rich Show" in Boston, Massachusetts/USA.

2 thoughts on “Turbo Kid (film review by Frank Ochieng).

  • Sounds like a refreshing look at the not so typical action hero film. It is good to see a new spin on the same old genre. Nice review, I enjoyed reading it.


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