During the 2015 Sundance Film Festival I was invited to attend the Turbo Kid premiere party. I decided to attend even though I hadn’t seen the film yet. Had I seen it beforehand, the party would have been a complete blast — because that’s exactly what the film is. Wildly over-the-top and full of heart and laughs, Turbo Kid is the best ’80s movie not made in the ’80s.
I knew I was in for a treat right from the disc start up, with bad tracking and synth music blaring, the film consumed me with nostalgia before I even hit play. Thankfully, Turbo Kid kept up its level of genius through the entire runtime, with a new ’80s classic born — even if made today. Co-writers/co-directors François Simard, Anouk Whissell, and Yoann-Karl Whissell deliver a knockout blast of fun. Available now at the film’s online store or as an exclusive Steelbook on Amazon.In the “Wastelands” of 1997, The Kid (Munro Chambers) is living on his own, scavenging for items on his trusty BMX bike, that he can trade for water. The Kid has been on his own ever since the sociopathic ruler of the Wastelands Zeus (Michael Ironside) kills his parents. After The Kid meet cutes Apple (Laurence Leboeuf) in a park, the two wind up on the adventure of their lives after The Kid finds a Power Glove that he can use to take down Zeus and his team of minions lead by Skeletron (Edwin Wright). Along with the help of the one-armed arm wrestler Frederic (Aaron Jeffery) and the resourceful Bagu (Romano Orzari), only they can put a stop to the tyranny of evil and save the Wastelands.
Turbo Kid blasts onto Blu-ray in a “3-Disc Ultra Turbo-Charged Collector’s Edition” from Epic Pictures. As is standard with Epic releases, the film looks spectacular thanks to the bulk of the disc giving the image room to breathe. All of the special features are on a third DVD so all that’s left is the film, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, and a commentary. Detail is razor sharp making sure every fine detail is visible. Blacks are nice and solid with no crush in sight. Banding never finds its way into the background and aliasing is non-existent. As for the audio, Turbo Kid may feel like an ’80s VHS classic, but it never sounds like one. Bass is deep with plenty of directionality and surrounds infusing the perfect ambience to the post-apocalyptic soundscape. Additional audio options include English 5.1 Dolby Digital, 2.0 English Dolby Stereo, and 1 French Dolby Digital. English, Spanish, and French subtitles are also included.
As I mentioned, the special features are all delegated to DVD disc so none of them are in HD. The original T is for Turbo short (5:34) keeps the tone of the feature intact and was submitted as a segment for the horror anthology ABCs of Death. It features a lot of gags that wound up in the full length film, but it’s still fun to see how it all began. “Bloody Wasteland: The Making of Turbo Kid” (23:10) is a lot of fun as we get a nice look behind the making of the film with producer Jason Eisener (ABCs of Death, Hobo with a Shotgun) and the directors explaining that the film is essentially a “Bugs Bunny for adults” and they couldn’t be more right. They also talk about their love of video stores, a place where Turbo Kid would’ve been rented countless times by myself had it been made back in the glory day of VHS. A full French audio commentary is also included.
Seven “Mini Docs” are basically super short “Making of Teasers” with footage from the “Making Of”: “Fantasia” (1:19), “Gore” (1:39), “Stunt” (1:24), “Funny” (1:07), “The Kid” (1:16), “Apple” (1:14), and “Zeus” (1:03). Three different film festivals are featured with the directing team introducing their film — recorded by Jonathan Bunning — at the following: BIFFF (Brussels – European Premiere — 6:57), Edinburgh (UK Premiere — 5:18), and Sitges (5:30). Also included is the “Official Trailer” (1:45) and a bunch of “Galleries”: “Stills & Design” (4:30), “Fan Art” (3:50), and “The Ride.” There are also trailers for Tales of Halloween and Nina Forever.
Turbo Kid is a breath of fresh air and will make even the most hardened fans cheer throughout. This is the kind of film that deserves a cult following. Finally landing on home video — simultaneously on Netflix for those with the streaming service — this is a film you need to watch immediately. Anyone who says they don’t make’em like they used to, aren’t looking in the right places. Full of bloody geysers, characters you can root for, and enough nostalgia to make your head spin, Turbo Kid isn’t just worth a look, it’s something you’ll want in your collection. Not even just for yourself, but for it to be passed around like a cherished VHS tape for all of your friends to enjoy as well.