|Index||3 reviews in total|
Director Jarrett Lee Conaway does a lot in a surprisingly small amount
of time. Choreographed fight scenes with flurries of special FX shots
highlighted within, deceivingly big and futuristic sets, and a young
cast you barely get to know, but quickly come to love.
In Turbo, star Hugo Park (acted well by Justin Chon of Twilight fame) gambles his brother Tobias' (Ilram Choi, a professional stuntman) rent away at a local club, playing a virtual reality game called 'Super Turbo Arena 2'. The game requires gloves and special glasses, it which point, the player's movements are tracked on screen. This movie couldn't have been made at a better time, as video consoles have finally reached a point where movement tracking controllers are a reality. Suddenly, the idea of STA2 seems more possible than ever.
This is obviously a movie by a gamer, for gamers, as every minute detail is covered. From the techno music backing the fights, to the announcer's voice, this film is a love letter to "Street Fighter", and many other 3D fighting games.
The only time I found myself disappointed was during key scenes near the end, when a final tournament is held, with a prize take of $50,000. I was looking forward to all of the fights leading up to the final tournament battle, but unfortunately, the only one you really get to see is a part-flashback style fight between the protagonist and his nemesis. I was hoping to be wowed by the action, but cutting what should be an important tournament for ALL of the characters in the film was not the best decision.
Overall, Turbo nails the atmosphere of Martial Arts video games, and by not overstaying its welcome, it succeeds in drawing you in and keeping you interested. Perhaps this is why so many video game films struggle... you can only do so much with a story you ultimately create yourself (In modern games).
Turbo is a virtual reality fighting game which can be played online or
face to face in organized tournaments. When young Hugo loses his
brother's rent money in a fight to bully Shamus Bryce, it also ends his
hope to enter a larger tournament. However Ruse Kapri saw him fight and
liked his spirit, lending him the money to enter. However what hope
does he have against the undefeated Shamus? Well, very little until
older brother Tobias, an injured former fighter, steps in to help train
him in real life skills to use in the game.
This film opens with a scene to grab your attention and make you jump online to check if you really are watching a student film or not. We start with a fight sequence in a computerized world which is a nicely shot walkway over a road but does the trick. It features animation like in Street Fighter or Tekken and it moves very well within the fight but also slipping out into Hugo's house where he stands on a platform wired up so his character repeats his moves. From here we get the detail of the world and we quickly get into sports genre movie territory essentially this is Karate Kid where a young fighter takes on a bully with training from an older master.
Technology wise the film is very impressive indeed and Conaway has not only done great work in the post-production but his direction of action sequences is good in this context, keeping the camera moving to add energy and impact. I would have liked some more extended fight sequences and more elaborate locations, but what I got I liked. The short running time does limit the plot because, like I said, this is Karate kid but it is really compressed and the rush does show. This also hurts the performances a little bit and I would have liked a little more time to develop characters and draw me in. Chon and Choi in particular were good but with limited time Lehre and Hunter were a bit unnatural and caricatured. In the fight sequences stunt performers Choi, Noviello and Tiare do well. The rush and the material does limit the performances though not all down to the cast. While the use of computer technology and the camera movement is effective, Conaway doesn't quite overcome the challenge of resources in other ways and during the big fight the small room of people watching does feel like a small room of people rather than something bigger, and the real-world set for the final battle is a big "sound-stage" rather than feeling real and atmospheric minor quibbles though.
Turbo is a great little genre film not "good for a student film" but actually good enough to watch on its own without any context. It has weaknesses in terms of material, performances and scale at some points, but it is still very impressive and, although rushed, is enjoyable and fun.
Hard to believe this is a film school short as the production values
are pretty damn high. This film is a genre fusion of augmented reality
computer gaming, martial arts and old school classic fight tournaments
with some pretty decent performances. Set in a near future, the story
features an underground tournament where contestants compete in an
augmented reality martial arts game called Turbo. Those of you who are
gamers, imagine an augmented reality version of Virtual Fighter (or
Streetfighter) with your own life-like avatar, using your whole body as
the controls, then throw in a Karate Kid storyline of a bullied boy
trying to prove himself and a brother mentor that trains him to fight,
and you have a predictable but highly enjoyable short flick. Why its so
enjoyable is the movie knows its clichéd like hell but delivers it with
style and a little self mocking wink.
Non gamers would enjoy this too for its kinetic energy, slick visuals, martial arts, cool soundtrack and good old boo the bad guy, cheer the good guy feel.
Being a film school production, I cant really say much bad things about it but I do agree with another reviewer on how fights are edited. Its a pity, the old school pan out long takes are not adopted these days. Having said that, the fights were were still enjoyable despite the fast edits.
To top it off the film ends with a superb end credit sequence that most Hollywood movies would envy.
|Plot summary||Ratings||External reviews|
|Official site||Plot keywords||Main details|
|Your user reviews||Your vote history|