There are movies about videogames, and then there are movies about videogames. Turbo, a 20-minute short film, is the latter – and is relentlessly entertaining in an incredibly 80s kind of way.
Turbo is a short film made by Jarrett Conaway and several other USC graduates about a not-too-distant future where a full-motion-control fighting game is the latest and greatest in interactive entertainment. Our hero (played by Justin Chon, last seen as one of the minor characters in Twilight and New Moon, only now in a role that doesn’t suck) is a fan of said game, and aims to join the pro leagues – but can’t quite cut it. So he’ll need training from a master who knows what he’s doing in order to make his dreams come true.
While Conaway’s own description of the film as “The Karate Kid meets Tron” is certainly apt, I think Joystiq’s Kevin Kelly nails it by comparing it to a Power-Glove-less The Wizard. The characters have the same hyper-serious attitude toward the game in question, and it’s got a similar visual feel to it. Actually, the whole movie has an aesthetic that manages to be simultaneously futuristic and yet retro – imagine how people in the ’80s thought the future would look (when the future was the year 2000) and update it just a little bit, and you’ll wind up with something like Turbo.
It’s incredibly cheesy, but it’s also kind of fun, and it’s clear that the people who made it actually play games and are familiar with the culture. Conaway has expressed interest in doing a full-length Turbo film, but for the moment you can watch the 20-minute-long project online (or buy the DVD if you’re so inclined).
Who says videogame movies can’t be entertaining?