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  Fair Game Against Her Better NatureBuy this film here.
Year: 1986
Director: Mario Andreacchio
Stars: Cassandra Delaney, Peter Ford, David Sandford, Garry Who, Don Barker, Carmel Young, Adrian Shirley, Tony Clay
Genre: Action, Thriller
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: A great beast of a truck emerges from the darkness in the Australian Outback, and with lights blazing it advances on some kangaroos. The passengers are illegal hunters, unbothered about killing animals on protected land, in fact it's something they get a kick out of, but the next morning one of the wardens, Jessica (Cassandra Delaney), finds one of the joeys left abandoned now its mother is dead and has to bring it back to her house in the middle of nowhere to nurse it back to health. On her drive into the local village to collect supplies and report the incidents she is nearly run off the road by two trucks, one a meat wagon and the other the vehicle which contained the illegal hunters who want more sport...

There are a number of movies called Fair Game, so it's a little bit of a shame the high profile efforts get most of the attention and something like this, a low budget but ambitious thriller from Australia, ended up neglected aside from the cult fans who were always on the lookout for specialised entertainment. Well, that wasn't entirely true, for there was one sequence here that went down in the annals of exploitation flick history, and that's where the former Mrs John Denver is strapped topless to the front of that aforementioned great, big truck which proceeds to zoom through the desert at high speed until she is unconscious. You don't forget something like that in a hurry.

And indeed Quention Tarantino didn't when he was scripting his Death Proof half of Grindhouse, the failed experiment in resurrecting this sort of diversion for a twenty-first century audience. But did it fail? Certainly there were a bunch of imitators, and many of them looked back to works such as Fair Game for inspiration, there were plenty to choose from at any rate, at least until home video became the format they were usually released to. Actually this little item was looking backward itself, back to the revenge movies of the seventies where the victimised turned the tables and sought a personal variety of justice, which the audience were invited to cheer on, never mind that going to the police and allowing them to take care of it wouldn't mean our hero or heroine turned murderer.

I mean, that would be just as traumatic to top violence with more violence, right? Yet just as the Westerns of old implemented vengeance trails for their characters to follow, those lessons were put into practice for the next breed of folks wishing to get their own back permanently, since there was some visceral satisfaction to watching such narratives play out in fiction, and Fair Game, although relatively late to the party, found Rob George's script and Mario Andreacchio's direction pleasingly inventive when it came to dressing up a storyline that was simple to the point of banality. Considering how unimpressive it could have been, the Outback setting, the almost female Tarzan-style heroine updated to the eighties, and the trials and tribulations Jessica has to endure contrived an experience that may have been overfamiliar, but striking with it.

The three yahoos who menace her - apparently urbane Sunny (Peter Ford) and his far more uncouth henchmen Ringo (David Sandford) and Sparks (Garry Who) - having already introduced themselves in typically Ozploitation fashion with some dangerous stunts few other country's movies would have tried - continue their campaign of intimidation at the store, using a Polaroid camera in an attempt to humiliate her. Naturally the law thinks she is overreacting and don't listen, so she has to take matters into her own hands which sees an escalating tit for tat occur, only it started over the top and stays there. The strapping of Jessica to the truck was but one part of the thugs' violent streak visited on her, and a Most Dangerous Game style of plotting quickly makes itself plain with her chased around the wilderness until she crafts what remains of her home into a booby trapped fortress for the big showdown, including a use for an anvil not considered by Bugs Bunny. This was never going to end in the participants setting aside their differences over a glass of sherry, it stuck to the traditions. Music by Ashley Irwin.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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