I recently picked up an obscure 80’s flick called ‘Wild Thing’ (aka Asphalt Kid) on VHS and to my surprise it was quite an enjoyable little oddball ‘superhero’ flick. Yeah, ‘Wild Thing’ is the alias of the homeless hippie hero who’s parents were killed by a crooked cop in 1969 when he was just a toddler. His parents were full on flower children too, as the opening scene shows them looking like members of the Grateful Dead driving around in an old VW van around the big city. Instead of living with his aunt and uncle after this tragic event the lil’ dude is chased down by the cops and leaps into a nearby river. He finds shelter with a homeless lady who takes him in as her own. Over the years he learns the ways of the streets, hunts pigeons with a tennis racquet for food, mimics a martial arts master who practices in the park, learns to speak from radio disc jockeys and figures out ways to communicate with alley cats. Yep Wild Thing is a bit of a “Jack of ALL trades”.
Wild Thing grows up a bit and by the late 80’s he’s become somewhat of a local legend and protector of the streets, rumored to have superhuman abilities. He’s a full on hippie vigilante who roams the rooftops looking for trouble. This one’s got quite a plot. Things get interesting when a woman from Wisconsin named Jane (Kathleen Quinlan) moves into the area to work at a priest’s half way home. Sure enough she arrives for the job late at night and is attacked by some crazy local hoodlums, well guess who arrives to save her?
Yep you guessed it our patchouli scented hero Wild Thing! This triggers a chain of events that puts Wild Thing in confrontation with the same crooked cop / thugs who were responsible for his parents deaths. Wild Thing, though somewhat of a cunning ghetto superhero, still has a lot to learn about life, especially the birds and the bees. Good Thing Jane is totally into Wild Thing’s schtick and willing to give him a few pointers! Yeah Wild Thing refers to sex as body bumping, as we earlier see him witness two lovers on a rooftop gettin’ it on and seems amazed and confused by the whole experience.
Wild Thing is a fun, obscure flick from 1987 and his story is pretty original albeit outrageous. Heck I’d choose Wild Thing over Netflix’s ‘Iron Fist’ any day! He’s definitely one of the cheeziest 80’s heroes – a mix of Batman, Tarzan, Jerry Garcia & Rod Stewart. He runs the ghetto shirtless with warpaint, cutoffs, dirty Chuck Taylors and loathes the “blue shirts” (Cops). Perhaps what’s best about it is the classic colorful 80’s portrayal of the big city. Neon lights & crazy spray paint fill most of the sets. It’s filled with some totally rad 80’s fashion with most of people looking like they’re auditioning for Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” video.
The score was done by George Clinton too & written by John Sayles ( The Howling, Piranha, Clan of the Cave Bear) leading me to believe this movie might have had a little muscle behind it back then. It’s got some pretty decent action sequences too, Wild Thing’s got some interesting contraptions to do battle with, but I was still hoping things would get a bit more crazy and we’d get to see Wild Thing really go ‘wild’. Overall this one is def worth checking out if you love how colorful / often ridiculous the 80’s were and are looking for a unique little urban superhero adventure flick….