FAIR GAME *** Australia 1986 Dir: Mario Andreacchio. 86 mins
Budding artist / wildlife sanctuary manager Cassandra Delaney is harassed by a leery, grinning bunch of pre-apocalyptic, sub-MAD MAX thugs (the more charming one is actually the worst of a lot) in this briskly paced Ozploitation number. They’re flouting the rules, hunting and wounding kangaroos in the vicinity (echoes of WAKE IN FRIGHT) and she strives to run them off the road after their initial bout of verbal and physical harassment. The local cops consider her “frothing at the mouth like a mad dog” with no evidence and recommend nothing more than a cold shower. The thugs consider that they’re doing farmers a favour by killing roos and continue their campaign of terror by pestering her with upskirt Polaroids and invading her home to take pics of her sleeping naked.
Delaney, who spends the whole movie in an increasingly tense game of oneupmanship with the chauvinists (with incidental threats, like a venomous snake, thrown in) and, in a movie with no real character development, delivers a bravura physical lead performance as an uber-resilient Final Girl. The most exploitative sequence was cut significantly (57 seconds) by the BBFC in the 1980’s: Delaney is tied to the bumper, the guys threatening to skin her but settle for cutting her clothing, ripping open her blouse so she is pinned to the vehicle topless, with lingering shots of her bruised body.
Otherwise, it’s relatively light on gore, but the spirited climax showcases suitably unpleasant deaths for the antagonists, with the smarmiest bastard screaming as he prepares to burn to death and a mandatory back-from-the-dead last minute shock. There’s a bunch of great stunts involving horseback / motorcycle chases, trucks driven through buildings, car crashes, etc. Mario Andreacchio directs with a Russell Mulcahy-style brio, with great use of location, dolly zooms, crane shots, et al – and a pounding, screeching, relentless score.
Review by Steven West