One woman’s survival against Man and Machine! Rediscovering ‘Fair Game’ (Australia – 1986 82 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - November 21, 2013
One woman’s survival against Man and Machine! Rediscovering ‘Fair Game’ (Australia – 1986  82 mins)

One woman’s survival against Man and Machine!

The exciting Australian thriller ’Fair Game’ is one of the best of the steady crop of ‘Ozploitation’ movies of the era. Although titles such as ‘Turkey Shoot’ (1981) and ‘Razorback’ (1984) are better known, ‘Fair Game’ stands out to me as being more polished than most of the others from this period.

Jessica, a beautiful young independent woman, living and working on a remote wildlife sanctuary, has her peaceful life turned upside down when three renegade hunters (Sunny, Ringo & Sparks) begin a seemingly motiveless spree of terrorising Jessica, and her menagerie of rescued animals. What initially begins as macho teasing and torment soon escalates into an all out battle of wits, as Jessica starts to fight back. This of course leads to the inevitable showdown between the hunters and the hunted.

25 year old actress and singer Cassandra Delaney (second wife of singer John Denver) is very convincing as the put upon victim. Jessica is really put through the mill and Delaney convincingly portrays her with a lot of guts and resilience. A minor actress with only a handful of credits, Cassandra Delaney retired from acting in 1992 to concentrate on motherhood and musical projects.

Although they were a clichéd bunch of movie ‘baddies’ (sensible one, crazy one & slobbish layabout), Peter Ford, David Sandford and Garry Who still make for an enjoyably nasty trio of rogues.

‘Fair Game’ was the feature debut of 30 year old Mario Andreacchio. Mario went on to direct mainly family fare after this, with popular titles such as the Golden Retriever adventure ‘Napoleon’ (1995) and 2006’s ‘Elephant Tales’.

Making great use of the vast outback setting, ‘Fair Game’ is well directed with some excellent cinematography. The Southern Australian scenery is quite stunning, and the movie is filled with some marvellous widescreen panoramas and overhead shots.

Apart from the infamous scene where Jessica is tied topless to the front of the villains truck, before being driven around the outback, there is not very much in the movie that is too exploitative. Perhaps the most frightening ‘character’ in the movie is actually the modified truck the thugs drive around in. Known as ‘The Beast’, it appears to resemble an actual living thing, complete with bulging eyes for headlights, and having a growl of its own, as it roams the outback hunting its prey.

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, among a crop of comic book fodder of the video age.

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