A young woman running a wildlife sanctuary in the Australian outback is in for trouble when she is confronted by three kangaroo hunters. Bored with killing kangaroos, they decide to kill the animals in the sanctuary. However, after seeing how attractive the owner is, they decide to have a little “fun” with her, too. Turns out that they may get a bit more “fun” than they bargained for.
Cassandra Delaney (One Night Stand) gives a superb performance as Jessica. Delaney manages a very convincing portrayal of an innocent woman who is put in a situation that’s completely out of out of her control. The character arc of Jessica being destroyed and re-born is perfectly captured in the final scenes of the film.
With it’s iconic imagery (Quentin Tarantino used the films most exploitative scene for great effect in Death Proof) and sterling camera work (at times you can virtually taste the kicked-up dust of the outback) all played out with a comic book, ultra-violent tone, Fair Game is not a movie you watch, but feel.
Fair Game is a poster child for the Ozploitation scene. The term ‘Ozploitation’ was created, to sum up, a certain genre of Australian films that catered for the more extreme cinema fan. With Australia’s film industry teetering on the dunny seat, it probably came as a relief when Mad Max was released on the unsuspecting public and became not only a worldwide success but a cult classic which spawned two sequels and a forthcoming remake. Realizing there was money to be made here, Australia started spitting out cheaply made movies that could be watched in the few remaining Grindhouse/Drive-In theaters as well as in the home on VHS.
Many of these movies sucked-in consumers in with their wild cover art – much as in the video nasties era – and their bold claims of being Fast! Fierce! Fantastic! (The Man From Hong Kong) or having ‘Nine hundred pounds of marauding tusk and muscle!’ (Razorback). As you can imagine, the movies didn’t always quite live up to the hype. However, occasionally, one or two titles slipped through the cracks and not only managed to stand by their wild claims but also make such an impact that film fans are still talking about them over 20 years later.
Wake in Fright (1971), To Make A Killing: aka Vicious (1988), Long Weekend (1978), Road Games (1981), Next of Kin (1982) and Fair Game (1986) are all prime examples of Ozploitation movies at their absolute finest.
Director Andreacchio has fond memories of his first feature film yet is not hesitant to explain the exploitative elements the film so clearly holds close to its heart: “Fair Game came out of a situation where we were wanting to make a movie that was a B-grade video suspense thriller. I wanted to treat it like comic book violence – it was always like a comic book study of violence. What amazed me and the thing I found quite disappointing was that it started to become a cult film in some parts of the world and people were taking it seriously. And that, for me, became a real turning point. I thought, if people are taking this seriously, then I don’t think I can make this sort of material.”
And so he didn’t. Instead, Andreacchio went on to direct much softer material such as The Real Macaw (1998), Sally Marshall Is Not An Alien (1999), as well as various episodes of the Australian TV series The Flying Doctors.
Fair Game got its main publicity boost from the fantastic documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! (2008). Directed by Mark Hartly, the documentary is not only beginners guide to Australia’s Exploitation movie scene but also a buyers bible for viewers that want a certain flavour to their viewing choices.
Martin Langford, MOVIES and MANIA
Buy Not Quite Hollywood from Amazon.co.uk