Tuff Turf

(Fritz Kiersch, USA, 1985)


This odd, kinetic teen movie from director Fritz Kiersch is a lively mix-and-match of contemporary genres.


It features James Spader as a soulful, brooding hero, juvenile delinquent gangs, rock video sequences, glimpses of punk subculture, and Robert Downey, Jr. for comic relief.


Everything in this film is in a strange, wandering, at times intoxicating state of distraction: plot, style, characters and moral values. In retrospect (and even at the time) it flags itself as a supreme ‘80s artefact.


Forget all those once-groovy, endlessly academically canonised exemplars of postmodernism in film, like Repo Man (1984): Tuff Turf, in its own inadvertently switched-on way, is the real deal.

© Adrian Martin November 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
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