Leonard Cohen: Bird on a Wire
Palmer's film is that rare concert doc that isn't for established fans only.
Retro kid's fantasy "Turbo Kid" is ironically frustrating because it accomplishes everything it myopically sets out to. Here's an homage to '80s pop culture that justifies its nostalgia for a bygone era of kitschy popular entertainment by critiquing modern-day assembly-line technology/entertainment. "Turbo Kid" is for anyone whose eyes light up at the very mention of '80s cult action-adventures like "BMX Bandits," cartoons like "Jem and the Holograms," and video games like "Mega Man." The film is, in that sense, the ultimate fan film since it monotonously aggregates previously existing scifi/fantasy tropes. Rejoice, Gen X viewers, for now you can uncritically enjoy your childhood's junk food culture just because you're looking at the past through the rose-colored lenses of the future.
"Turbo Kid" begins with deliberately cheesy voiceover narration that relates the film's paint-by-numbers nuclear dystopia scenario, then declares: "This is the future. This is the year 1997." That info is dumped in viewers' laps after a hexagonal company logo that looks a lot like Cannon Films' signature emblem pops up, and a dorky synth power ballad plays over the film's opening credits (the chorus: "You can light the dark when they hear your heart of thunder.").
"Turbo Kid" further implores viewers to enjoy relatively eccentric pop detritus of yester-year by setting its narrative up as a jokingly gritty wish-fulfillment narrative. The Kid (Munro Chambers) is a comic-book-obsessed orphan who survives by trading items he scavenges for necessary supplies. The Kid's world is ruled by one-eyed despot Zeus (Michael Ironside), a cruel baddy who rules his people with the help of Skeletron (Edwin Wright), a mute, saw-blade-wielding heavy. So it's no wonder that the Kid worships, and subsequently dons the costume of Turbo Man, a superhero armed with a red helmet, shoulder and knee pads, and a laser blaster operated by a Power-Glove-style keyboard. The Kid is joined in his anti-Zeus campaign by Frederic (Aaron Jeffrey), a duster-clad arm-wrestling champion, and Apple (Laurence Leboeuf), an unfailingly chipper android (more on this shortly).
Since The Kid is the audience's surrogate, we see the film's world as a post-modern world without rules: everything is awesome because every story can involve parts of any story. So when Zeus taunts The Kid with a shocking act of violence, and bluntly exclaims "There are no rules that can't be rewritten," that's actually a line of thought that The Kid eventually embraces. The Kid even parrots Zeus later, exclaiming "Playtime is over" before he fires his video-game-style arm-cannon at Zeus.
This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...
A review of Netflix's new series, Lemony Snicket's "A Series of Unfortunate Events," which premieres January 13.
Meryl Streep and other awards recipients shared their thoughts on an America under Donald Trump during last night's G...
A review of NBC's "Emerald City," premiering January 6th.