Ever had to fart so bad that you began to get worried? Not worried about the damage you might be doing to the storied veteran that is your gastrointestinal tract, but concern about the level of destruction your ass is about to unleash on your immediate surroundings? Like a legitimate fear that the burden you clench could possibly be an extinction-level event?
Whatever, I just ate some expired yogurt and I’ve got a lot on my mind. And one of those things is “Turbo Kid,” the latest in a string of ’80s-tinged movies that has just wriggled its way onto streaming services. It’s a bit like last year’s “Kung Fury,” only with a higher gore quotient, more pulse rays and an apocalyptic wasteland chock full of BMX-riding rovers.
Expanded from a 2014 five-minute short of the same title that was essentially just a kid finding a Mega Man blaster and nuking a few wasteland marauders into oblivion, “Turbo Kid” is a movie built on throwbacks. It reaches back to synth soundtracks that would be right at home in a Galaga arcade cabinet, to Saturday morning cartoons and fantasy movies with kids inheriting magical powers and saving the world.
While some entries into the burgeoning ’80s recreation genre feel like being punched in the face by a guy in aviator glasses and brass knuckles with “RADICAL” emblazoned across them, “Turbo Kid” manages to slow things down a bit and play out more like a fantastical children’s movie of yore. It’s astonishingly lighthearted, if you look past the swirl of intestinal damage and geysers of blood.
You’re not going to recognize many faces in the movie, save perhaps for Michael Ironside, himself a sterling ’80s movie villain (and also the guy who said “They sucked his brains out!” in “Starship Troopers”). His character, Zeus, has devised a mechanical contraption to extract water from human bodies and uses his position of water-holding power to rule the wasteland with an iron fist.
But that’s really not all that important. He exists mostly to supply a steady stream of mindless flunkies for our hero, the phasor-blasting Turbo Kid, to mow down. I could see the script evolving from a few friends drinking too much and parsing out what it would actually be like if they stumbled upon a real, live laser cannon and a snowball effect of “what ifs” followed. “What if there was one extra-bad dude who wore a skull mask the whole time? And what if he had a buzzsaw launcher for a hand?”
Yes, “Turbo Kid” is rooted in nostalgia, but it has allowed itself to recreate an already idealized past into something more fun, more gory and completely silly. I often wonder what exactly sparked this whole neon ’80s retro revival and how long it will last, but for now, “Turbo Kid” is one of the more qualities pieces to come from it.
Read more Nixon: coloradodaily.com/columnists.