Top critical review
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on 5 May 2011
Directed by Anglo Australian filmmaker Brian Tenchard-Smith (most notably known for the Australian film that introduced Nicole Kidman to the world, BMX bandits, a kid/family movie, mainly remembered for the zeitgeist trend of the bicycle craze in the title), this post-Mad Max dystopian future movie tells the 'story' of a camp for retraining the 'deviates' of society, so that they may conform to the institutionalised norm as a whole. It begins with three people being taken in the back of a van to the camp of 'Re-Education and behaviour modification'. The camp looks much like the Nazi concentration camps of such films as SS Experiment Camp, or Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS. The film begins as all of the usual 'nazisploitation' movies do, with a pinch of titillation and humiliation. This is not however a nazisploitation movie, as it appears to have a more communist edge; as the motto goes (in a quite comical sequence where 'chief' guard Rimmer picks out the smallest woman, and mock-punches to her face, whilst forcing her to recite it), "I am a deviate, lowest form on earth..."
The main 'heroes' of the piece, are Paul (Steve Railsback), and Chris (Olivia Hussey - also known for such genre films as It, and Black Christmas). These also constitute the ubiquitous love interest within the plot. Whilst the inhabitants of the camp are humiliated and ritually abused in almost gladiatorial fashions, the main plot stems from the concept highlighted by the films title (although this was altered both for the UK video market - Camp Blood Thatcher; and the US market, Escape 2000), where there are five prisoners who are set 'free' from the camp so that seemingly elite persons from society can game hunt them with no consequences. All this leads to utterly predictable outcomes, resulting in an attempted overthrown of the 'authorities'!
The film exploits the concept of game hunting with elements of gore (again ubiquitous of the times of production), but doesn't really explore the societal elements that the protagonists are trying to subvert. We know nothing of the 'societies' structural elements that may instigate any kind of revolution or revolt. What exactly are the protagonists subverting? What are the policies, or dogmas of this 'society'? We only see the camp, and are not given any knowledge of the non-diagetic world beyond this.
The rich hunt the imprisoned. That is about as political as this movie gets. OK, so all movies don't necessarily need to have a message, granted. But if you are going to make a film set in a dystopian future, the world needs to be constructed so that we may understand why this future exists. To add insult to injury - despite the finale having a touch of gore - it almost seems like an episode of The A-Team, only people actually get shot. I almost forgot to say; a certain 'thing' accompanies one of the rich on the game hunt that he "found in a freakshow", which is essentially a badly dressed wolf-man. It's as if someone turned up on set in the wrong costume, and the director thought "well, we'll make it work!"
If you love bad filmmaking, with no social commentary, and no element of surprise or suspense, then you may well love this. But, it is, and will always be a bore!