Todd Gaines’s review published on Letterboxd:
The year is 1997. In a post-apocalyptic world where water is king; an orphaned kid named The Kid spends his days riding his BMX bike and scavenging the edges of the wasteland searching for anything he can use to trade to a local bartender for his favorite comic book, Turbo Rider. You see, Turbo Rider is a superhero, who does super things. The comic causes The Kid's imagination to run wild, and he dreams of becoming a superhero. One day, while roaming the dirt roads, he meets a charming young lady named Apple. The next day, he accidentally finds a Super Power Glove that turns him into a bootleg version of Turbo Rider. Along with a cowboy arm-wrestling champion named Cowboy, the trio embarks on an adventure to save what's left of humanity from Zeus, the evil one-eyed super villain, and his sidekick, Skeletron. Turbo Kid is a Canadian / New Zealand low-budget independent 80's homage flick with a boss daddy synth score, and a plot that's straight outta Mad Max meets Power Rangers meets Mega Man meets Karate Kid.
Remember Kung Fury? Yup, the short film that tried too hard to be 80's cool. Well, Turbo Kid is the polar opposite of Kung Fury. Why? Turbo Kid pays a ton of homage to a lot of flicks, but it does it in a way that makes you smile. The Kid has an off brand Walkman, looks through his View-Master, rides a BMX bike, plays outside, collects comic books, and eats cereal like a boss. These are all things you could easily see a kid from the 80's doing. To me, Kung Fury is a poser because it went way too far in trying to be 80's, and Turbo Kid is the real deal without the talking dinosaur cop.
What's to love about Turbo Kid? There's the delicious Apple, who probably gives my favorite female performance of 2015. She might talk like she's from the set of Fargo, but she has a heart of gold, and she kicks ass. Plus, she has one of the most real feeling relationships with The Kid. You can't help but love them together, and your heart breaks when they're apart. There's Cowboy, and his New Zealand charm. He's a fun good guy, and he has an arm up on the competition. We can't forget The Kid. He's some actor from Degrassi, but he's a charming lad. It's kinda funny he's 25 years old. He looks 16. Hmm, could this be Karate Kid homage? Remember, Daniel was old as dirt when he started waxing with Mr. Miyagi. Oh yeah, the villians. Michael Ironside hams it up as Zeus. You can tell he's there to have fun. But, it's his sidekick, the silent but deadly Skeletron, who steals the show. He doesn't talk, but his wardrobe is worth a 1000 words. Let's not forget the action. Holy insanity! You know those Japanese splatter flicks? Yeah, this could be renamed Turbo Kid the Killer. The blood is bloody fun. There's buckets upon buckets of splatter. There's some fun practical effects mixed in with some obvious CG, but it's hilarious to watch baddies explode from the all mighty low-rent Power Glove. You have Power Rangers meets Mega Man fighting. How can you not get excited for that?
I love how the post-apocalyptic world looks. No guns. No cars. No MTV. But, there's a ton of bicycles. Ever seen a gang of baddies dressed straight outta The Road Warrior chasing innocents on bicycles your grandma might've ridden? Or, witness BMX stunts taken straight from the 80's cult hit, Rad? Man, I miss my BMX bike.
I've talked about how awesome the synch score is, but Turbo Kid also has 80's power ballads, and acid trippin' techno music. Talk about a triple-combo of musical fun.
If I told you Turbo Kid is a better movie than Fury Road, would you believe me? To me, Turbo Kid is the motherfucker. It's low-budget, but high on energy and excitement. It's fresh, funky, fun, and fuckin' rad. Sure, it's a little bit quirky, and maybe some of the humor might not appeal to everyone, but if you're searching for a flick that stays true to 80's homage and has an identity of its own; you better dust off your Power Glove, find you a helmet laying around somewhere, and practice your kung-fu skills, because you never know when the world will need a superhero to save the day.