Directed by Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell
Written by Francois Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell
Starring Munro Chambers (The Kid), Laurence Leboeuf (Apple), Michael Ironside (Zeus), Edwin Wright (Skeletron) & Aaron Jeffery (Frederic)
UK Release Date: 27th August 2015 (Film4 Frightfest)
In a post-apocalyptic wasteland, a comic book fan dons the persona of his favourite hero to save his enthusiastic friend and fight a tyrannical overlord. (Source: IMDB)
Upon receiving its debut at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2015, having first met with much critical acclaim and positive reception from both critics and audiences alike, before making its way over to the Edinburgh Film Festival and Film4 Frightfest respectively during the summer of that year; I knew from the very first moment I laid my eyes on its super cool 80s retro poster – paying massive homage to all the science fiction fantasies of that decade – that this would be right up my street. With Stranger Things still fresh in my mind, this was very much welcomed in my world right now. Admittedly, the main comparison this indie film has with that awesome show are the many geeky popular culture references. This however, has a lot more in common with Mad Max and Kung Fury (check it out on YouTube if you haven’t already) than Stranger Things but by no means less epic; a critic was bang on the money when quoting this as: “Mad Max on a BMX”, sums this crazy adventure up to a tee really.
The story is set in an alternative ‘futuristic’ 1997, where the world is now a desolate place. A deserted post-apocalyptic wasteland where seemingly 99.9% of the Earth’s population has now been ended, leaving only a handpicked few alive to survive. Water is now the main driving force of the planet, a source that is incredibly hard to come by in a desperate world ruled under the evil tyranny of an uncompromising overlord known as Zeus (played with villainous relish by Michael Ironside). Seen through the eyes of a teenage character known only as The Kid, we follow him as he does his best to scrape by in a world that is altogether a much different and dangerous place than the one he was used to that he holds loving memories and flashbacks to. He filters his past life he once had and dearly misses by ‘losing himself’ in his collection of Turbo Rider comic books, listening to his Walkman and riding out on his BMX. One day, while out reading one of his comics on a park swing, he is interrupted by a chance encounter with a girl called Apple. Quick to become his new best friend, much to his unease and alarming rate, she is both needy and overly enthusiastic. At first I found her to be an irritating and annoying character, but by the time the film has finished, you’ll get why she acts the way she does and in turn you’ll fall in love with this character.
Its the friendship between The Kid and Apple that is really the heart and soul of this movie and its what glues everything altogether and just makes the overall film work wonderfully. They both share many scenes together where they have a chance to totally shine, one great mention being that of a comical highlight where Apple proceeds to teach The Kid some of her ‘kick-ass fighting moves’ that results in a hilarious, eye wincing moment. These funny moments are matched with some emotionally, heart warming scenes too, particularly where The Kid talks fondly of his mother to Apple while they’re both lying together by a campfire, staring curiously up at the night sky, “My mom once told me, that when someone dies, a star is born. So when the apocalypse happened, the sky lit up with all the souls of the people who died.”
Its only when Apple gets captured and taken by one of Zeus’ evil minions, that this film takes a completely different direction where the action and jaw dropping violence really gets started, propelling into maximum awesome overdrive. The Kid just happens to randomly stumble across Turbo Rangers’ secret base while on the run from any more of Zeus’ cronies scouting the area and with no time to lose, he suits and tools himself up in Turbo Ranger’s costume complete with a power boost glove, making it his mission to rescue the girl of his dreams and finally fight back.
I was so unprepared for the level of explicit gore and blood that was unleashed within the second half of this film. Amidst the mountainous carnage of bucketfuls of blood with a loss of numerous body limbs, any of you fans of horror like me will be treated to some of the most creative and ingenious bloodshed (as well as blood soaked) death scenes that I really haven’t seen in quite the same way since seeing both of The Raid movies. Mightily impressive considering this was an indie project on a smaller budget. The make-up and visual effects were insanely good.
Very little really. There’s so much good stuff in here that I think will please just about everyone. Clocking in at about 92 minutes, I felt that was the right length of running time to tell this kind of story without it dragging. It has really great characters, so much wonderful childlike nostalgia and its just so damn fun.
Fan of Mad Max? Loved Stranger Things!? Then stop whatever you’re doing right now and make this your next thing to watch on Netflix. I demand you to do so immediately.
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2