• Fair Game



    Released by: Umbrella Entertainment
    Released on: January 12th, 2018.
    Director: Mario Andreacchio
    Cast: Cassandra Delaney, Peter Ford, David Sandford, Garry Who, Don Barker, Carmel Young
    Year: 1986
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    The Movie:

    Directed by Mario Andreacchio in 1986, Fair Game introduces us to a beautiful woman named Jessica (Cassandra Delaney) who runs an animal sanctuary in the Australian outback. Making her life difficult are three kangaroo hunters - Sunny (Peter Ford), Ringo (David Sandford) and Sparks (Garry Who). They’ve been hunting on her protected land and she’s none too happy about that. She reports the incidents to the local cop, Frank (Don Barker), but he doesn’t do anything. The local farmers are only too happy to see these three keep the kangaroo population under control, so he simply turns a blind eye to it all.

    Their harassment takes a creepy turn when she wakes up one morning to find that they’ve taken Polaroid’s of her while she was sleeping. Well aware that they’ve been inside her house, she decides to take it to them by sneaking into their camp one night and messing up their guns. When they find out what she’s done, they track her down, rape her, then tier her to the hood/grill of their truck and barrel through the outback with her acting as a de facto hood ornament. They trash her house, ruin her car and kill off the rest of her animals. Beaten but not down for the count, Jessica wants to get into town where she can get help – but between her and her destination are those three psychos. Desperate times call for desperate measures as she basically launches a full-scale retaliation…

    This is a pretty intense, gritty and twisted thriller that incorporates elements of the rape/revenge subgenre and really runs with them. The outback setting gives the whole thing a dusty, desolate feeling that results in a very gritty look for the film. This suits the tone of the story quite well, it has this arid feel that really accentuates how remote Jessica’s situation really is. The look of the film is top notch, it’s just perfect for the story being told. The cinematography captures all of this really nicely, again enhancing the desolation that Jessica has to endure alongside the very human threat that serves as the main catalyst in the story.

    As to the performances, the film scores high marks. Ford, Sandford and Who are all quite good as the hooligans out to make our heroine’s life a living Hell. They do crazy well, really delivering performances ripe with manic energy without going so far over the top as to escalate things into camp territory. They’re creepy, sleazy and very threatening. Don Barker is also good as the film’s lone office of the law. We know he’s not on Jessica’s side, but as to how far he’ll go, well we don’t want to spoil that here. Regardless, he has the right ‘look’ to play a cop well, and he’s just fine in the role. The real star of the show, not surprisingly, is Cassandra Delaney. This could not have been an easy part to play as her character really is put through Hell. She’s terrorized, beaten, raped and abused yet towards the end manages to find the strength to give her would be captors one last go. Delaney plays this strong character really well. Sure, she’s quite attractive but beyond that she brings some appreciable depth to Jessica that makes her more than just your typical damsel in distress.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    The feature takes up 18GBs of space on the 50GB disc region free Blu-ray disc, presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition and framed at 1.85.1 widescreen. There’s a little bit of print damage here and there but overall the transfer is a strong one. The dusty hues of the desert are reproduced really nicely here and there’s very good detail and texture throughout. Skin tones look nice and natural while black levels are solid. There are no noticeable issues with compression artifacts, edge enhancement or noise reduction, the transfer is very film-like.

    The English language DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo track is also quite strong. No alternate language options or subtitles are provided. There are a few moments here and there where things are just a tad shrill but this seems to have more to do with the original recording than anything else. Otherwise, no complaints. Dialogue is clean and clear, the score sounds really good and the levels are properly balanced throughout. There are no problems with any hiss or distortion to note and there’s decent channel separation in a few spots.

    Extras start off with an audio commentary featuring director Mario Andreacchio and writer Rob George. They talk about the short films that they made together, where the inspiration for Fair Game came from, staging some of the film’s more adventurous scenes, working with Delany on the film, what some of the other cast and crew members brought to the production and what was involved in some of the stunts that are focused in the picture.

    From there we move on to a few featurettes, starting with some extended interview with leading lady Cassandra Delany originally shot for Not Quite Hollywood that runs just over fifteen minutes in length. She talks about what drew her to the role, her thoughts on the film’s more exploitative elements and the nudity required for the part, and of course the infamous ‘tied to the hood of a truck’ scene that the film is known for.

    From there, dig into a few archival pieces, some taken from different newscasts that covered the making of the film – first up is a four minute On Location With Fair Game which is basically just a collection of behind the scenes footage. From there, we get a thirty-second TV report from NWS9 Action News and a two-and-a-half-minute long TV Report from ADS-7 State Affair. More substantive is a fifty-two minute Behind The Scenes With Dean Bennett documentary. Bennett did a lot of the stunt work on the film and he was able to document quite a bit of that stunt work being done on set with a camcorder. The technical quality here is rough in spots but it gives us a fairly intimate look into what was involved in some of the more action-intense moments from the film and what it was like on set.

    Umbrella has also included ninety-minutes of Mario Andreacchio’s early short films – 1983’s Break-In, 1984’s Abduction... Who's Next?, 1981’s Vandalism, 1986’s Under Pressure and 1984’s Taken By Storm. These are interesting to see and a nice inclusion on the disc, even if most of them feel more like public service announcements or commercial films than artistic endeavors.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are an extensive animated image gallery, an eight-minute slideshow of storyboard art, a theatrical trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection. Note that all of the extras except the Delany interview, the still gallery and the theatrical trailer are 50Hz and may not play on certain Blu-ray players.

    The Final Word:

    Umbrella Entertainment’s Blu-ray release of Fair Game is a good one, presenting this entertaining mix of outback bound action and horror in great shape and loaded to the gills with plenty of extra features. All in all, a very strong release for a seriously intense film!

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!






























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