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If you don’t love Ozploitation then there is something very wrong with you. I mean how can you not love the beautiful use of desert wasteland? How could you not fall in love with the grit, grime, and sweat of all those darling outback underworld characters? Let’s face it, when the Australian New Wave hit it hit hard and it hit with a mighty fury. And 1984’s RAZORBACK rode the crest of that wave.
From director Russell Mulachy (HIGHLANDER, TALES FROM THE CRYPT: THE SERIES) comes the touching story of a man and a giant freaking pig, and the carnage left in its wake. Old codger Jake Cullen is accused of murdering his infant grandson. In a scene that seems all too familiar in the Outback, a dingo… I mean razorback stole a baby. Released for lack of evidence, he becomes an outcast in the Outback hunting down the murderous beast who took his grandson.
Two years later, American reporter Beth Winters travels to Australia to chase a story about kangaroo poachers. Beth, a reporter who specializes in animal rights cases, lays out this scenario for us in a scene that was a clear shot of South Wales Australia for New York City. Hey at least it wasn’t Toronto again. Once in Australia, which as I explained was probably a short journey, Beth is attacked and left for dead by two kango killers Benny and Dicko. Just then an even more brutal killer, a giant razorback, disrupts the attack.
Beth’s husband Carl goes in search of his missing wife, whose body was never recovered. He enlists the help of Jake and the two go on an ODD COUPLE meets GRUMPIER OLD MEN-style adventure through the desert. The hunt is on, the hunt for the biggest damn razorback since Billy Ray Smith, Sr., you can’t do a RAZORBACK review without a bad University of Arkansas joke.
Historians of Ozploitation will tell you just what a perfect example of the genre this film was. The use of American actor, Gregory Harrison with his B/C list status, as a box office draw was one of the main weapons in the Oz arsenal. The obvious homage to American director Steven Spielberg, what with the over the top use of shooting stars and that signature JAWS focus, was yet another way Mulachy tried to add a little jolt of respectability to his film about a giant pig. And these are just two examples of what makes RAZORBACK so perfectly charming and so perfectly Oz.
Re-released as part of the Warner Brothers Archive Collection, RAZORBACK as a simple no frills DVD. Although I would have liked more features bundled around such a classic film, the film itself capably stands up on its own. RAZORBACK a classic man versus beast revenge film set up against the backdrop of the brutal yet beautiful Australian Outback. Mulachy has no issue showing both the gorgeous and the ugly side by side. His characters are just what American audiences would expect from the period and place. Now, thanks to WB opening up their archive, RAZORBACK is available on DVD with an ass-ton of other great films. This is a must buy, highly recommended, as seen on TV do it now film and collection.
DVD/ Blu-ray Reviews
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