Mad Max on a Shoestring Budget – Turbo Kid (2015)

I’m about done with these intentionally bad movies.  So in a post-apocalyptic world, there is a kid with a bike that loves comic books (Munro Chambers).  When there is an evil that needs to be taken down (Michael Ironside), our protagonist becomes a superhero named Turbo Kid to save the day.  I’m going way back in my film database here: the last time I connected with an intentionally bad movie was Hobo with a Shotgun.  I think the Machete series is dumb and should have gone no further than a 5 minute trailer, and while I did like Grindhouse back in 2007, I question if it was worth it, given the number of imitators it spawned, Turbo Kid included.

1Maybe I’m growing up, but it just doesn’t do it for me anymore.

My friend who relishes terrible movies was the one who turned me on to this, and with it being available on Netflix streaming, I decided to give it a crack.  To me, this is a prime example of a movie that tries too hard, and when you wear it this plainly on your sleeves that you are going for kitsch, it doesn’t typically work.  The thing about this is that I have recently seen Kung Fury, another movie that is intentionally bad, but it doesn’t overstay its welcome because it is only 30 minutes long, and the fact that it doesn’t waste your time goes a long way.  When you are stretching your story out to feature length, you have to be on board with the joke, otherwise you’re going to be rolling your eyes throughout.  I got the joke to Turbo Kid, I just didn’t think that it was particularly funny.

2And that joke is that it is Mad Max on a bicycle.

At this point I feel that post-apocalyptic movies are played out, and you have to be something truly remarkable to win me over.  Like every movie that is bad on purpose, this features a synthesizer score that sounds like it is from the 80’s, a trope that is also tired at this point.  The two biggest deal-breakers for me are the writing and the tone.  This feels like it was written by a 9-year-old, and I don’t mean that in an Axe Cop kind of way.  It also wants to be as tongue-in-cheek as possible with character interactions, which I don’t feel blends with the violence being as over-the top as it is.  The thought that crossed my mind the most while watching was “we get it, you like the 80’s”, and I felt this to be long even at a short 90 minutes.

Turbo Kid (2015) **

– Critic for Hire


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