In the Netherlands they are famous for many things. Being the world’s second largest exporter of beer. Tulips. Cyclists. Diamonds. Laid back attitudes. Canals. Vincent van Gogh. Amsterdam’s red light district. A weird concentration of Argentinian steakhouses. Marco Van Basten. The list is endless. Now Leopardo continues his one man mission to make it famous as the home of the International Retro Review.

Our favorite… OK, potentially only… Dutchman returns with more International Retro Review goodness. This time it’s New Kids and it’s a double header!

New Kids

Hi! I am sorry I have not written an International Retro Review in some time. I was on vacation. It’s what we do in Europe, we occasionally leave our home countries, visit another one, and go see what kind of stuff they have over there. And our bosses have to keep paying us while we are away. It’s kind of nice.

This one will be a two for one. The movies I will be reviewing are New Kids Turbo (2010) and it’s sequel, New Kids Nitro (2011).

New Kids

Based on the Comedy Central TV series New Kids, which in turn was based on a web series called New Kids on the Block, these movies were a huge success in their home country of the Netherlands, and also in some other parts of Europe, especially Germany. The first one, Turbo, is a comedy drama that focuses on the plight of the lower income residents of a small Noord-Brabant village, and the second one, the direct sequel Nitro, is a comedy zombie-horror movie.

Here are the trailers:

Looks like fun, right? Well, they are. Let me tell you a little bit more about them. Both movies were produced and released by Eyeworks and Comedy Central. The series focuses on a group of, let’s be honest, delinquent morons that forgot to leave the 90’s. The jokes are violent, gross and repetitive. It has a somewhat unique style that you either love or hate. It’s very immature, so it’ll do fine with the LMO audience. The movies, especially the first one, are basically more of the same, but on a grander scale.

The movies are directed by Steffen Haars and Flip van der Kuil, who also star. Both movies are scored by Tom Holkenborg. You may recognise his name. He also did movies like Deadpool, Batman v Superman, and Mad Max: Fury Road. This may seem a little much for some cheap follow-ups to a dumb TV-series but it actually works very well. Both movies are very well made. They’re competently directed and have decent production values. Plus, Holkenborg hadn’t really made it to Hollywood yet at the time anyway.

The Main Characters

The cast of both movies is basically the same so I’ll mention them once… in all their glory.

Huub Smit – Richard Batsbak. Unofficial group leader. Blond one standing in front.
Tim Haars – Gerrie van Boven. Official group idiot. Green shirt.
Wesley van Gaalen – Rikkert Biemans. De-facto group driver as he’s the one with a car. Light blue shirt.
Steffen Haars – Robbie Schuurmans. Also one of the directors. Basically seems to be there to make the group look bigger.
Flip van der Kuil – Barrie Butsers. Semi-mute drug dealer. Also the other director. Open shirt.

In all their glory…

Other notable cast members are Bart de Rijk (Adrie, the sad excuse for a cop), Guido Pollemans (D’n Dave, D’n is pronounced as Dn and is Brabant slang for “the”) and Ruud Matthijsen (Henk Snackbar, the proprietor of the local snackbar).

There are women in the cast but they’re there to stand around until it is time to make rude jokes about them. I know many of you are worried about the “strong, independent female character” inserted everywhere. Don’t worry. Not here.

The Plot – New Kids Nitro

The titular New Kids are losers. They have menial jobs they hate and they are totally unqualified for. Most of them are single, one lives with his mother, one is a drug grower and dealer, all are morons. One day, they all lose their jobs and have to go on welfare. It’s not enough to pay for their lavish lifestyles of store-brand beer and deep-fried snacks though, and they decide that since the government doesn’t provide them with enough money to live, they won’t pay for anything anymore. The government then steps in, because this behaviour is catching on and the country might fall apart.

That’s it, that’s the plot. It’s not a long movie but still, that’s not enough plot to stretch out for a whole feature film. But they do, and it is fine. The movie goes from scene to scene just trying to be as offensive as possible. Since a lot of the jokes rely on repetition, they can go on as long as they like.

But where the movie really shines is in how it embraces it’s “Brabantness”. The town they all live in is called Maaskantje, and it’s a small village in Noord-Brabant, the Netherlands.

I’ve mentioned before that this is the province I come from and it is the best one in the country. We are not rude like the people from Noord- or Zuid-Holland, we are not dumb like the people from Limburg, and we are not unintelligible like the people from Friesland. Every line is peppered with Brabant slang and swears, and is delivered in a thick accent. Viewers from other provinces need subtitles. It’s awesome, and very, very quotable. Even after all these years, people still shout lines from the movie at each other.

I can not recommend this movie enough. It’s gross, offensive and absolutely hilarious.

Also, the town is real and I live about 20 minutes away by car. If I may provide another personal anecdote, I once sold a piece of second hand electronics online and the buyer proudly proclaimed himself to be the father of Peter Aerts, the K1 world champion fighter featured in the movie. I guess that was to make sure I didn’t rip him off.

The movie even provided something of a career boost to some 90’s dance DJs, namely DJ Paul Elstak and German dance music producer and performer Scooter. Their music still sucks though.


The Plot – New Kids Nitro

This one starts out as more of the same. In a very meta opening scene, a disgruntled viewer shows up to criticize the cast for AGAIN doing the same thing and never doing anything cool like in their old TV and web shows, before getting accidentally shot in the face. This sets the tone nicely. But, as it turns out, the movie is NOT more of the same. It starts out as such, with the same kind of shenanigans but with some more budget visible on-screen.

Life on welfare

Maaskantje and Schijndel are two warring towns, and gangs from both towns are always at each other’s throats. But when the zombie apocalypse starts in northern province Friesland, they decide to work together to rescue one of the New Kids’ mothers who is vacationing there.

Joined by a gang from Woensel West (which is a district in the city of Eindhoven, the best district in the country because it is where I was born), they fortify their cars and head out to find her.

There is much less repetition from the show and first movie here, although there are still running gags like cop Adrie wrecking his patrol car over and over and getting a cooler one every time and Rikkert’s continued quest for physical female companionship. This movie relies much more on it’s plot and less on just being the New Kids, and it is refreshing. It’s a worthy follow-up.

Another personal anecdote slash useless piece of trivia: the whole joke of the Woensel West gang is them shouting out the names of local landmarks, including the hospital I was born.

There was a music career boost here as well. Semi-retired folk-singer Corry Konings had a hit with her song “Hoeren neuken, nooit meer werken” (Fucking whores, never working again).

Stuff That I Think Is Interesting About These Movies

You’d think they’re not for everyone, they are very juvenile, and very violent, gross and offensive. So the first one was a bit of a surprise hit, and the second one was made to ride the wave I guess. They are rated 16+, so I guess it would be R in the US, but I’ve watched it with my kid who was a lot younger the first time. It’s OK for younger viewers if you don’t mind explaining (or refusing to explain) some of the more graphic stuff. But that’s coming from a Dutch perspective, your mileage may vary.

Look, different clothes!

As I said, a lot of the humour comes from the language and the accents. This won’t work internationally, but I love how they did it in Germany. All the main cast does their own voices, this time with a thick Dutch accent, and it totally works. Another joke is about nobody understanding Frisians, so in foreign releases they just don’t dub them at all. Not being able to understand them is the point!

The supermarket store-brand beer sponsored the premier and was delivered to the red-carpet in cardboard trays. On pallets.

The Verdict

Watch them. Four blown up Mantas out of five for Turbo, three decapitated Frisians out of five for Nitro. Can’t fit that into the standard LMO rating system, so we won’t!

Dick Maas?

Nope. Not this time.

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