Friday, May 28, 2010

Turkey Shoot (aka Escape 2000) (1982)

In the not to distant future (actually no one ever references the time period that I recall, but that is how these things usually work...the U.S. release suggests 2000 so we'll just go with that), a totalitarian state rounds up 'deviants' and sends them to labor camps for re-education and behavior modification. The whole of the action takes place within Camp 47, known for its "success" rate and the lack of overpopulation issues that trouble other camps. Success means death as those in charge of Camp 47 are far more concerned with inflicting their sadistic desires on the prisoners than in fulfilling any particular ethos. This leads to a (most dangerous) game where a select few prisoners are hunted for sport in the grounds surrounding the camp by its top brass and high ranking government officials in for a visit. This includes one gentleman who brings along a fanged wolfman with serpentine eyes to act as his sidekick (way out of left field, to say the least). In the end, the tables are turned as the prisoners successfully overpower their hunters and wage a full-scale battle against the camp leading to a government sanctioned wipeout of the entire facility with the use of napalm bombs...and yet our heroes survive somehow.

Turkey Shoot is one of several Ozploitation films highlighted in the documentary Not Quite Hollywood (2009) that I caught last year. It comes recommended for some truly insane stories (one being the use of live ammo during a cat and mouse chase scene in Turkey Shoot for no discernible reason) and if nothing else, it will increase your Netflix queue considerably.

As for the film itself, it falls somewhere in between being too exploitative to be taken as a serious dystopian allegory, but then not nearly enough to throughly enjoy from a sensationalist point of view. The movie (at least for me) smartly eschews a through explanation of the politics behind how this totalitarian state came to be, seeing as most attempts for related fare tend to be rather broad and generic (V for Vendetta, as one example). And for the most part, the action (which is what I'm paying for) is unrelenting and suitably graphic, including Olivia Hussey chopping off one of the goon's hands. Needless to say, she's a long way from Juliet.

Still, the main premise is treated all too seriously considering the rather hammy acting, spurts of excessive violence and the odd addition of the wolfman character. There is fun to be had, but I will likely stick with this guy for all my Australian produced bleak future needs.


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