Fair Game, a classic example of 80s Ozsploitation, is being released theatrically in the USA by Dark Star Pictures on July 8, 2022, followed by On-Demand (VOD) on July 12.
Here’s our previous coverage of the movie:
‘They hunted her… they used her… now they pay the price!’
Fair Game is a 1986 Australian action thriller film about a young woman running an animal sanctuary who is kidnapped by kangaroo hunters. But she takes her revenge on the trio who terrorised her.
Directed by Mario Andreacchio from a screenplay written by Rob George. Produced by Harley Manners and Ron Saunders.
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 her control. The character arc of Jessica being destroyed and re-born is perfectly captured in the final scenes of the film.
With its iconic imagery (Quentin Tarantino used the film’s 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 that spawned two sequels and a reboot. Realizing there was money to be made here, Australia started spitting out cheaply made movies that could be watched in the few remaining grindhouse movie houses and drive-ins 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). Obviously, many of 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 all these 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 received a belated 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 a beginner’s guide to Australia’s exploitation movie scene but also a buyer’s guide for movie fans that want a certain flavour to their viewing choices.
Martin Langford, MOVIES and MANIA
” …takes a bit too long to get to the meat of proceedings, with Jessica turning her farmstead into a series of homemade, yet increasingly lethal traps with which she can defend herself. I’d like to have seen this stretched out, rather than compressed into a frantic final fifteen minutes. She’s the hunted rather than the hunter for the majority of the time, and as usual, the former is the less interesting part of the equation.” Girls with Guns
“The only negative for me is the sometimes annoyingly loud score which is at times both overdone and intrusive. Still, it is a typical 80’s electronic score which populated many an action movie of the decade. At 82 minutes, barely a moment is wasted as ‘Fair Game’ is pretty much non-stop, with plenty of action, moments of genuine tension and some excellent stunt work. An entertaining, yet little-known thriller…” Tina Aumont’s Eyes
Buy Not Quite Hollywood from Amazon.co.uk
Cast and characters:
Cassandra Delaney … Jessica
Peter Ford … Sunny
David Sandford … Ringo
Garry Who … Sparks
Don Barker … Frank
Carmel Young … Moira
Adrian Shirley … Victor
Tony Clay/Wayne Anthony … Derek