Fair Game (1986) Review – Voices from the Balcony

In the press release for their re-release of Ozploitation classic Fair Game, Dark Star Pictures mentions its influence on Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof. And for many, that will be a reason to check it out. I was more interested in revisiting it because of its connection to another Australian film, Russell Mulcahy’s Razorback. It’s almost as if writer Rob George (The Battle for Jericho, Selkie) and director Mario Andreacchio (The Dreaming, Sally Marshall Is Not an Alien) decided the Baker Brothers were wasted playing second fiddle to a killer pig and made them the main villains here with memorable results.

Jessica (Cassandra Delaney, One Night Stand, Pledge Night) runs an animal sanctuary somewhere in the Outback. One morning, while driving into town to get supplies, she is almost run off the road by two trucks driven by a trio of kangaroo hunters Sunny (Peter Ford, Mad Max, Gallipoli), Ringo (David Sanford, I Can’t Get Started, Great Expectations: The Untold Story) and Sparks (Gary Who, Dead End Drive-In, All Together Now). It’s not the first time they’ve harassed her, but the local cop (Don Baker, Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Time Guardian) refuses to do anything.

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Of course, in a film like Fair Game, it’s not surprising, nor the fact that the incidents continue to escalate, with Jessica taking the worst of it every time she tries to fight back. Until in the film’s most notorious scene, she’s strapped topless to their truck and driven like a human hood ornament. After surviving this, she is bloodthirsty.

Fair Game lets us know what we’re getting from the start. The opening vehicular confrontation with Ringo jumping between the three of them is an impressive scene. And soon after, one of them slips under her truck to take a Polaroid upskirt as she climbs into it. Why she just pours flour on him rather than stomping on his face is a bit of a mystery.

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The movie keeps the same nasty tone as the back-and-forth between Jessica and the trio escalates. Animals are killed, weapons are destroyed, and at one point they sneak into her house to take pictures of her sleeping naked. Given the sexual nature of so many offenses against Jessica and the level of foutage at which the film’s villains operate, it’s somewhat surprising that Fair Game doesn’t turn into an Outback version of I Spit on Your Grave and the Violence stops short of rape. I wonder, though, if its plot of three men stalking a woman through the desert scenario was an inspiration for Coralie Fargeat’s Revenge.

What we do get though are some solid action and stunts courtesy of stunt coordinator Glen Boswell who has worked on everything from Turkey Shoot and Razorback to last year’s The Wrath of Man. Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie (I Am Legend, Lord of the Rings Trilogy) contributes stunning shots of Australia’s natural beauty, both its landscape and Mrs. Delaney, as well as atmospheric night shots that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie.

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My only complaint is that Fair Game takes too long to get to its final showdown. Embedded in the last ten minutes of the film, it’s certainly well done, including the expression on the faces of the other two when she takes the first of them down. They seem genuinely offended that she dared to take things on their level. But he feels rushed and could easily have done it with an extra five or ten minutes.

One of the best, and sadly overlooked outside of its home country, Ozploitation Fair Game films needed to be rediscovered. Hopefully his movie run will expand to other cities, including one near my home.

Black Star Pictures Fair Game will be released theatrically in Los Angeles on July 8. It will be available on VOD and Digital on August 12 and on Blu-ray on August 30.