Turbo Kid & Space Station 76 Movie Reviews

I figured I’d review these two movies together as they’re both (spoofs of? homages to?) a couple of very specific genres that I love. And I really enjoyed them both! But neither manages to quite capture the spirit of the films they’re emulating, although I appreciate their effort. Let’s discuss… πŸ™‚

Turbo Kid (2015)

Directed by François Simard, Anouk Whissell & Yoann-Karl Whissell

Starring: Munro Chambers, Laurence Leboeuf, Michael Ironside, Edwin Wright, Aaron Jeffery, Romano Orzari

Plot Synopsis: (via Wikipedia)
The film follows the adventures of The Kid, a teenage boy turned superhero in the “Wastelands”, an alternate 1997 Earth where water is scarce. He teams up with a mysterious girl, Apple, to stop the tyrannical leader Zeus.

My Opinion:

An 80’s-style post-apocalyptic film set in an alternate sci-fi 1997?! And starring Michael Ironside, my favorite low-budget Jack Nicholson?!! Holy shit – sign me the hell up! I actually knew nothing about this movie until reading Digital Shortbread Tom’s great review (HERE). So, when it finally appeared on UK Netflix a couple of weeks ago, I watched it immediately. It’s a lot of fun! It’s flawed but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I was hoping to love it but I appreciate the effort they put into the film.

There’s Michael Ironside hamming it up perfectly as the main baddie! And check out this other baddie, who looks like some fucked-up mash-up of Jason Voorhees & a Quiet Riot album cover.

This was out ages ago in America but if you’re in the UK & don’t know anything about it, be warned that it’s mega violent. Funny, very fake violence. Lots of people exploding & blood splattering everywhere. The type of OTT fake gore that I can actually handle – I’m a wuss about realistic violence in movies but it’s played for laughs in this one. In fact, I have to give the writers credit on some extremely inventive kills here, such as one involving a bike & a rather lovely one involving an umbrella. They’re almost up there with the marionette death in A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors (but not quite – nothing beats that one).

As every review of this states, this movie is Mad Max on bikes instead of in cars. That alone was enough to sell it to me. Seeing all the images from the film helped as well and I think they did a decent job making things look good on (what appears to be but maybe it’s meant to appear to be??) a very low budget. The gory special effects had the great fake 80’s look they were going for but, more than anything, I just really liked the design of the characters and their crazy mix of 80’s-post-apocalyptic-inspired costumes. And look how cool our two main heroes look! I’d dress like Apple if I was a teenager & into cosplay instead of a boring old woman working in an office. Mainly, I just BADLY want my own gnome stick! 

Speaking of Apple, I was afraid she’d be waaaay too annoying at first but I have to say they managed to turn that around & I ended up liking her by the end. So bear with her if you watch this – she’s meant to be annoying but she ends up rather endearing. And I thought that Munro Chambers, who plays Turbo Kid, was really good! I wonder if this role will get him noticed – it looks like he hasn’t been in much besides TV stuff like Degrassi: The Next Generation. Ha! I remember when they made us watch Degrassi Junior High early on in high school because it dealt with issues such as pregnancy & the teachers didn’t want us to get knocked up, I guess. Or to have to teach a class instead of sticking us in front of a TV…

This will be one of those reviews where I say loads of great things then confuse people by giving it an average rating. I can’t quite put my finger on it but, overall, this film doesn’t quite work. It maybe tries a little bit too hard? Like I said to the hubby, it often feels like current movies like these are being made by people who love 80’s films but are too young to have actually lived through that whole decade (I can’t find info on the directors’ ages). I have to say that Space Station 76 actually got things more “right” in terms of re-creating a mood from a specific era although Turbo Kid is the more entertaining film of the two. I do respect what they’ve done with this movie, though, as it feels like a movie where those making it have really put their heart into the project. I’d certainly be interested in watching anything else this group of people will hopefully make in the future. Turbo Kid 2? I’d definitely check that out if it happened. I mean, don’t a lot of people prefer the second Mad Max film to the first one? Maybe Turbo Kid 2 would be perfect.

My Rating: 7/10

Space Station 76 (2014)

Directed by Jack Plotnick

Starring: Patrick Wilson, Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, Marisa Coughlan, Kylie Rogers, Kali Rocha, Jerry O’Connell, Keir Dullea

Plot Synopsis: (via IMDB)
A 1970s version of the future, where personalities and asteroids collide.

My Opinion:

A dark comedy in the style of a 1970’s sci-fi film?! Plus Keir Dullea, Todd Rundgren, and a hot guy (Matt Bomer)?!? Sign me the hell up! I’m obsessed with 80’s movies & with post-apocalyptic movies just like the makers of Turbo Kid clearly are but nothing beats good ‘ol 70’s sci-fi for me and I absolutely loved the way they captured the look of those films for this. However, I’m going to put this disclaimer in right now: I am not recommending this movie to anyone. Watch it at your own risk & don’t come moaning to me if you hate it. Got it? Because most of you would hate this movie. I almost steered clear when I saw its IMDB score of 4.9/10. Yikes! That’s the kind of rating for the movies Eric watches! But I’m glad I decided to watch it anyway & make my own mind up. Because I really liked it.

I’d say that labelling this a “comedy”, dark or not, was maybe a bit of a mistake as a lot of people were probably expecting something very different. This movie is quite depressing at times, as each character is suffering from a different kind of lonliness and a longing to be loved or, at the very least, accepted. I read that the director thought of the space station in the film as a suburb, which perfectly describes how the movie feels. A groovy 70’s suburb! Far out, man. The closest I can come to describing this movie is to say it’s Dynasty in space. But more Seventies than Eighties… (Hubby disagrees with me & says it’s “Space: 1999, the Richard Linklater edition” but I never saw Space: 1999 so can’t make that comparison)

We don’t know what year this movie is set in (and don’t need to) but it’s meant to look & feel like the 1970s in the same way so many sci-fi films made during that decade still looked totally Seventies because of the clothing & the decor despite being set in the future & in space . What I really liked were all the movie’s subtle little touches & anachronisms. They’re on a fancy space station complete with cool gadgets such as therapy robots yet they use videotapes labelled with those awesome label maker labels. Remember those?! You’re all too young. We had one like the one below. I want one again! I also want a therapy robot…

The characters are also stuck in the past: the men are male chauvinists, especially the male captain (Patrick Wilson) who is a closet homosexual & treats his new female co-captain (Liv Tyler) horribly as he feels threatened by her. The women are self-absorbed & catty and, of course, everyone smokes constantly. But it works well as everyone is a sympathetic character in their own way. Well, except for the mother of the young girl – I wanted to punch that woman… The characters played by Liv Tyler, Matt Bomer, and the young girl playing Bomer’s daughter (Kylie Rogers) make up for the less likeable characters, though. I have to say that I’ve never noticed Bomer before & that I only knew him from that shitty Magic Mike movie but he’s absolutely adorable in this. It helps that he’s the only male character who isn’t a pig (although he does like to listen to Todd Rundgren while fantasizing about a naked Playboy model played by Anna Sophia Berglund. There – I’ve named her so that should get me some pervy Google views. But I won’t post the full frontal nude images from the movie. Sorry, boys!).

This movie is hard to describe & I can understand the low ratings but those will mainly be due to it being watched by the wrong people. I hate when people say “you just don’t understand it” when talking about a movie as I think that sounds snobby as hell but, well… I think that’s the case with this movie. If you don’t love the Seventies and/or sci-fi films from that decade, I really can’t see you appreciating this one at all.

I have to say that, although Turbo Kid is fun and the one that I’d recommend, I actually think Space Station 76 did a better job of portraying a specific era & genre and I actually have more respect for this one. If I’m honest, I preferred it to Turbo Kid. It’s surprisingly sad at times & I found the stories involving Liv Tyler & the young girl especially heartbreaking. I’m not sure I was happy with the way the movie ended as we don’t get much of a resolution. However, I’ve never seen anything quite like this film and I like that. It’s different. They took a gamble with this movie and it certainly won’t work for everyone but I found it very unique and have thought about it a lot since seeing it. I’m glad I ignored the IMDB rating.

My Rating: 7.5/10

**Not gonna lie – I’m old & uncool so I loved the use of all the Todd Rundgren songs Space Station 76. I’m sure it was easy to get the rights with the Liv Tyler connection as he was her step-dad… Anyway, at least Daft Punk agree with me that Rundgren is cool! International Feel is used in this film and, as I said in my review of Daft Punk’s Electroma, they also prominently featured the song so I’m going to share that clip from Electroma (in Space Station 76, it plays while Bomer fantasizes about the naked Playboy model):

And, of course, they use Hello It’s Me – one of Rundgren’s most well-known songs:

54 thoughts on “Turbo Kid & Space Station 76 Movie Reviews

    • I really wanted it to be better but it was fun, at least. Good enough for a one-time watch. : ) Oh, that’s good you didn’t look her up. Because if you DID, you’d see that she has fairly large breasts. You’d hate that!

  1. That Space Station 76 sounds fantastic and looks like those old Doctor Whos I love that you guys used to make fun of me for watching before bed. I’ve never heard of it before and I am totally in.

    Thanks Wanker!!

  2. That’s actually a really great point about Apple in Turbo Kid. I also dreaded having to spend a lotT of time with her but as the movie progressed she actually became more empathetic. I can live with a 70% rating from you mutey! That ain’t bad! I myself haven’t seen a ton of flicks from that era so my experience was much more intensely focused on…..well, that experience. Of watching hardcore action flicks from a bygone era. It was cool. But now I wanna check out this Space Station 76.I think if I dug TK I’d dig it, too. Nice reviews here

    • Thanks, Tom! Well, my hubby really didn’t enjoy Turbo Kid. : ( I thought it was fun, though! Glad I watched it. Apple really was annoying at first but it helps when you find out *why* she’s that way. : ) Oh dear…. I honestly am scared about people watching Space Station 76. Eric already watched it! It’s very different… I hope you don’t hate it then get mad at me! lol

  3. I have to add a music note. The Todd Rundgren 1972 version of Hello It’s Me pales in comparison to his original with Nazz in 1968. That album also contains the classic Open My Eyes.

    • Hehe. Well…. Yeah, I think these may not be for you. πŸ˜‰ You might like Turbo Kid. Eric LOVED Space Station 76 so that’s worrying. Lol. Bomer is HOT in it! : )

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    • Yep! That’s how I watched them both. : ) I think you really might like Turbo Kid but I’m not so sure on Space Station 76…. (Eric watched that based on my review and he LOVED it, so… Well. You know what his taste in movies is like… Lol) πŸ˜‰

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  10. I’ve watched these two just recently and now I find a review for both! Haha. Turbo Kid is easier to be appreciated, it’s faster, bloodier hence the IMDb rating… There was a short movie Kung Fury took all of this to the extreme.

    I also felt Apple was annoying in the beginning, but by the end of the movie loved her character. If you check IMDb, there’s certainly some craze ongoing about her between the male audience…

    Space Station 76 is definitely not for everyone, it’s even a more extreme take on nostalgia theme but there’s actually more than that. I enjoyed it quiet a lot but several quiet slow parts of the movie could’ve been more elaborated since they were very minimal.

    p.s. did you see the Turbo Kid short prequel?

    • Hi! Thanks for all the comments. Especially on these two – this is one of my favorite double reviews I’ve done (and it got me talking on Twitter to a guy who worked on Space Station 76). I enjoyed these a lot (sci-fi is my favorite genre) and I appreciated how unique these felt as I’m often disappointed with current films. I think SS76 is actually the better of the two but I’m almost more into the retro 70s thing than the retro 80s thing (I lived through both but was very young in the 70s). True – Apple did grow on me by the end of the film. : ) I’m glad you reminded me of these films as they’re two I really should own as I’d like to watch them again & I want to support movies like these being made. And, no, I’ve not seen the short prequel! Will check out your link. Thanks! And, yes – I’ve seen Kung Fury & just read your review (thanks for the link! I’ll be by soon to leave a comment once I catch up on replies here). : )

      • Yes, all these independent sci-fi movies deserve more for many reasons. They receive little attention, because are often still considered a low genre with more and more exceptions in the last decade of course… It is also the courage of the directors that must be taken into consideration. Everybody may watch an indie, but a sci-fi indie is a different story.

        SS76 is more a dialogue-based movie and Turbo Kis is a pretty straightforward film that is more easily connected with stuff like Attack the Block! etc… I think it’s just a matter of taste and also I didn’t live in the 70-s… πŸ™‚ Sometimes it’s really difficult for me to connect with the 70-s sci-fi and culture in general. What can you reccomend?

      • Oh man… Where do I start?! Lol. I think, when it comes to 70’s sci-fi, I’m fairly mainstream so it’s likely you’ve seen all the biggest films from then anyway! I’m curious what you’d think of The Man Who Fell To Earth (but I’m in love with David Bowie). : )

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