Turbo Kid is an independent film written and directed by the RKSS Collective team of Anouk Whissell, François Simard, and Yoann Karl Whissell. The film took the 2015 Sundance Film Festival by storm, becoming one of the few standouts receiving viral attention and an ambitious national release—Turbo Kid opens nationwide on August 28.
Turbo Kid stars veteran character actor Michael Ironside (Total Recall, X-Men First Class, Justified), Munro Chambers (Degrassi, The Latest Buzz, Beethoven’s Christmas Adventure), Laurence Leboeuf (Being Human, Trauma, 19-2), and Aaron Jeffery (Neighbours, Underbelly, Wentworth Prison) in a retro-futuristic nostalgic tribute to 80’s action-adventure films. Set in the post-apocalyptic year of 1997, we follow the Kid (Munro Chambers) on an adventure to save Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), the girl of his dreams. As he is befriended by a Cowboy (Aaron Jeffery), and thwarted by the villain Zeus (Michael Ironside), the Kid learns about love, sacrifice, doing what is right, and what it takes to truly be a hero.
The film is very much a send up of the Road Warrior/Mad Max films, with a sprinkling of Total Recall and Scanners mixed in—exploding brains and all. Beneath the satire, cartoon violence, and silliness in some of the scenes, you find the heart of a real story about love, recompense, managing grief and loss, and a boy’s tale of growing into a man.
Michael Ironside, who is not a regular promoter of the films he appears in, cannot say enough about this production: “The movie embodies a unique sense of public storytelling. It’s not a polished timepiece. It’s an incredible hand-made clock.”
Think of it as a coming-of-age tale without the dumb jokes and awkward sex scenes. The film ably explores true kinship, death, and loss without heavy-handed sermonizing or long soliloquies. It is a heartfelt tale of a young man finding his courage, a sense of adventure, and the desire to explore and expand his world.
For a low-budget film, the prop and set design are well done. The writer-directors said in the production notes, “Objects from our youth hugely inspired the production design. We’re BMX kids, the generation that grew up with the coolest action figures. We’d play with our GI Joes and Ninja Turtles, in front of our favorite Saturday morning TV cartoons, eating sugary cereal. We brought many of our own toys on set to use as props.” The love of the world was clearly evident in the detail and authenticity of not only the props and costumes, but how each character related to the world around them and each other.
The refreshing lack of pretense in the home-made special effects was fun to watch. In the CGI-saturated world of feature films, it was truly entertaining watching old school action and effects come to life.
Munro Chambers is extremely engaging as the Kid, and his interaction with Leboeuf’s Apple are genuine, sweet, and believable. Both actors have been working practically since birth, and they did a wonderful job of expressing the innocence and the wonder of childhood and the world around them that is either lost, denigrated, or insincere in many modern Hollywood films. Michael Ironside is the king of understated sinister, and no less in the villainous role of Zeus; and Aaron Jeffery as the Cowboy is a throwback to John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, embodying a raw manhood and depth of character that is also sorely lacking in modern productions. The juxtaposition of the Cowboy’s old world hero with the Turbo Kid’s new-age hero was a wonderful play on a father-son relationship, as well as passing on the torch of manhood. It was done subtly and without fanfare, that it was almost unnoticed… almost.
To find out more about Turbo Kid, including the theaters in your area where the film is showing, visit the Turbo Kid movie website or Facebook page.