Turkey Shoot (Australia 1982)

Rating: **
Alternate Title: Escape 2000 (US Title)
Review Date: 8/7/12
Directed By: Brian Trenchard-Smith
Cast: Steve Railsback, Olivia Hussey, Michael Craig, Roger Ward

In a dystopian future where society and justice have broken down, criminals and deviants are sent to "re-education centers" to be tortured and brainwashed into becoming productive servants for the rich upper class. Warden Thatcher (Michael Craig) has taken it one step further at his camp, where the rich elite can hunt the inmates for sport. Conveniently, a group of new arrivals are chosen to be targets, including a violent and volatile revolutionary named Paul (wild-eyed Steve Railsback) and an innocent young woman named Chris (impossibly pretty Olivia Hussey) who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The hunters are an eccentric group of rich psychopaths, including a lesbian woman who enjoys raping and killing women with her exploding crossbow bolts, and a sadistic man who tracks his prey with a bulldozer and a well dressed werewolf servant. Huh? Against all odds, Paul and Chris team up and manage to take the fight back to Thatcher and his goons.

Apart from the wacky characters, the film takes itself extremely seriously and seems overly self important. It's a cautionary tale whose socio-political message is boiler plate science fiction, and is little more than a variation of the often imitated "The Most Dangerous Game." Michael Craig is wonderful as Thatcher and a large, bald Roger Ward makes a very dangerous and menacing prison guard. Steve Railsback is intensely creepy, but performs well, and the amazingly beautiful Olivia Hussey looks completely terrified (and she probably was). The film was definitely made on a lean budget, but looks pretty good for the most part. The action scenes are pretty tame and the exploitation angle is more implied than in your face, which is not what I was expecting after having seen "Not Quite Hollywood" (2008). The visual effects are decent, with the highlight being a man being literally ripped apart by machine gun fire. Shockingly impressive, to say the least. Other than that, it's pretty standard 1980's action fare.