Fair Game (1986) is a brutal tale of revenge [Review]


Mario Andreacchio’s exploitative effort packs plenty of sordid action sequences into an entertaining package.


fair game is a heartbreaking good time that hits the ground running. It goes from zero to sixty in about three minutes. And there is something to be said for that. This Ozploitation effort does not attempt to make a meaningful statement or function as a living work of art. The main focus of the film is to provide white-knuckle entertainment. And at that level, it works pretty well.

The pic follows Jessica (Cassandra Delaney) as she locks horns with a trio of poachers hunting kangaroos at her wildlife sanctuary. Jessica initially crosses paths with the disreputable characters during a dramatic road rage incident. And things only get worse from there. With no one to rely on but herself, Jessica stands up to the hunters and fights to protect herself and the animals in her care.

The film’s premise is relatively simplistic and essentially plays out like 90 minutes of cat and mouse, with the roles reversing down the stretch. But he’s a relatively effective revenge actor.

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Much of the film’s success can be attributed to a likeable protagonist. Even though fair game doesn’t feature much character development, positioning Jessica as the operator of an animal sanctuary makes her immediately likable to viewers. Without too much effort, she establishes herself as the pure-hearted heroine fighting against injustice. This casts her in a sympathetic light and establishes just how obnoxious her opponents are. Ruthlessly tormenting a young woman whose world revolves around caring for helpless creatures is another kind of evil.

Despite her situation, Jessica isn’t one to back down from a fight. In fact, she’s a fearless protagonist who refuses to cower in fear when pursued by unsavory guys with violent designs. She makes a conscious decision to confront her attackers head-on and continues to do so, until the bitter end. His path to victory is grueling and arduous. The action sequences are mostly well staged and the chase sequences are intense.

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My only complaint is that the movie can be a bit uneven at times. A sequence will build to the point of heartbreak, only to transition to a new scene before the potential of the previous ordeal is fully realized. And that made up for my overall enjoyment. It’s as if director Mario Andreacchio hasn’t quite figured out how to exploit each sequence to its full potential.

Concrete example: the action is interrupted and Jessica goes home to shower several times during the event. And I could almost understand if it was steamy shower footage. It is an exploitative effort, after all. But they are not sexy showers. Thus, their insertion seems rather confusing. And that has a certain impact on the rhythm and goes against the logic. When you’re being chased by a trio of crazies, you sure have higher priorities than cleaning yourself up a second or third time, right?

That said, the action comes early and often and the retribution streaks are notable enough that some of the particular choices could be easily overlooked. After all, one of the main purposes of exploitation cinema is to entertain. And fair game certainly succeeds at this level.

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fair game will end up inspiring Quentin Tarantino Proof of death. And it’s easy to see the influence of this film in the author-director’s contribution to the Crusher double bill. Although the finer details are quite different, you still have a woman (or women, in the case of Proof of death) in jeopardy at the center of every story. And in both cases, the woman or women are chased by a creep (or in the case of fair game three creeps) in a luxury automobile. Both stories end up finding the tables turned against the attacker(s) in a heartbreaking denouement.

Naturally, Tarantino’s take on the subject is a little more shrewd and has fewer gaps in logic. But that’s no reason to sleep fair gamewhich benefits from a theatrical reissue, thanks to Black Star Pictures departure July 8, with a digital output provided to follow July 12.

Summary

The action sequences of this exploitation effort are effective enough to compensate for the flaws in the image.

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