Weekly Review: Turbo Kid (2015)

In post-apocalyptic 1997, a kid becomes one with his comic book hero in order to save his friends, seek revenge, and save the world.

I’m doing this review at the request of a friend. This isn’t typically the type of movie that I would watch on my own, I will admit. At first, I was told that Turbo Kid was similar in story/format to the movie Kung Fury (which I wasn’t a fan of). I went into Turbo Kid with low expectations because of this, and I will say that it was much better than I was expecting.

Turbo Kid has a very interesting look to it. The movie is set in a post apocalyptic 1997, an alternate reality of sorts. The clothing and items present in the movie are all nostalgic of 1980s memorabilia. One of the most interesting aspects is that the characters travel around on bicycles. You’ll see a gang of bad guys roll up on bicycles like a gaggle of children. It’s pretty funny at times.

While the overall look is really intriguing, the level of violence does get pretty gory at times. If you’re not a fan of gore, this might take you out of the movie when it happens. I know that occurred with me, especially toward the end of the movie. There are explosions, decapitations, limbs coming off, and much much more. It’s somewhat entertaining at first, but at times it gets beyond ridiculous.

I’ve seen some reviews describe Turbo Kid as the brain child of a 10-year-old who is obsessed with He-Man, if that 10-year-old was given the budget, crew and equipment to make a feature length movie. That seems pretty accurate.

The main character is decently compelling. He works well with the narrative he’s being given. While he is meant to be seen as the vessel to carry the audience through the narrative, he’s not the standout character for me. The standout character for me is a perky young woman named Apple, practically the only female character in the movie. She’s adorable in this weird, quirky way. At first she was kind of scary, but as a viewer, I grew to really adore her.

One thing that I really want to address here is how the movie treats its very few female characters. It’s kind of a toss up.¬†The female character with the largest part is Apple, who, while pretty amazing, is primarily there to be a friend to the main character. The narrative does a lot of things to her in order to push the main character along his path. By the end of the movie, I wasn’t amused by that aspect anymore. Another¬†female character is the main character’s mother, who is primarily seen in flashbacks. She doesn’t have as much of a part, and what we do see of her is pretty great, but her arc ends in tragedy as well. The only other female character is an Asian woman who never really says anything, but is always by the bad guy’s side.

I will point out that the things that happen to these characters aren’t out of the ordinary for the movie. It’s just that with only three female characters, their treatment stands out. I didn’t feel like this movie was made with me in mind. I wasn’t the target audience.

I could definitely see this movie becoming some sort of cult classic. It may already be at that point, and I’m just unaware. It has a style to it that is really reminiscent of something you would find on an old VHS tape. I really liked that aesthetic. I think it’s probably the best thing about the movie.

It’s kind of a coming of age story while also being a cheesy, low-budget action flick, but no matter how you define it, there’s something about Turbo Kid that makes it memorable. It wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it was an interesting experience to have. If you want to check out the movie, it’s currently on Netflix streaming.


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