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Star - Australia!
Genre - Action
Certificate - R18
Run Time - 95 minutes
Country - Australia
Blockbuster Rental- £0.99 per night
Amazon -£3.5700 DVD (£7.9900 Blue Ray)
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Officer Cooper: We got a convicted murderer out there killing every man in this town and you're suggesting we don't call it in?
So Red Hill, not a cheesy Richard Curtis love story set in another trendy area of London but a rather visual and fun action movie from Down Under. I really like Aussie movies as they are non pretentious, never that serious and get right to the point with no faffing around. The acting is straight up and the panoramas as iconic as any Hollywood movie set in Monument Valley. If you have been to Australia you will understand just how enchanting this place can be, the sunrise and sunsets out in the countryside ideal for a western, Red Hill the best since The Proposition from this wild and wonderful country. You just don't get lazy cliché and predictability from this part of the world.
= = = Cast = = =
* Ryan Kwanten as Shane Cooper
* Steve Bisley as Old Bill
* Tom E. Lewis as Jimmy Conway
* Claire van der Boom as Alice Cooper
* Christopher Davis as Slim
* Kevin Harrington as Barlow
* Richard Sutherland as Manning
* Ken Radley as Earl
* John Brumpton as Rex
* Cliff Ellen as Gleason
= = = The Plot = = =
Young Deputy Shane Cooper (Ryan Kwanten) has been re-posted from the city to a small country town, that of Red Hill, the doctor insisting his pregnant I.T consultant wife (Clare van der Broom) Alice (it had to be) moves away from the bright lights to bring down her blood pressure for a tricky pregnancy, the other reason being that Cooper got shot on duty when refusing to down an armed suspect, a 15-year-old boy and so needs to get his nerve back in what the presume will be a sleepy Aussie outback posting.
Forgetting that gun for duty on day one doesn't impress his boss, Old Bill (Steve Bisley), the Sherriff, who sends him on a crappy job because of, and on horseback. This is the outback after all. Returning from the job - a dead cow attacked by some sort of wild animal - the police station is in lockdown after the escape of an extremely dangerous prisoner, Jimmy Conway (Tom E. Lewis), who will be heading to Red Hill in a hurry to seek revenge on the cops who put him there. Half aboriginal and half third-degree burns, Conway is one mean looking cobber.
The Sherriff gets up a posse of cops and locals and blocks all the roads and routes in and out of town, Cooper posted to the most likely way in. But Jimmy calls their bluff and takes that obvious route in, Deputy Cooper once again in a Mexican standoff, once again bottling it, tumbling down a verge to escape a macabre death at the hands of Jimmy Conway. Now Conway is inside the perimeter and heading straight for the police station as the body count rises, the deputies pinned down as the shoot out begins, Conway determined to take them all down. But there is something not quite right about this rampage and Cooper seems to be the only man who can get to the bottom of the real reason for Conway's ire, much to the ire of his fellow officers who refuse to call for backup.
= = = Results = = =
How can you not love a western with death by boomerang! This is y kind of movie. Although an almost corny homage to a thousand westerns it's great fun and suitably tongue-in-cheek. A man with a rifle is up on the roof as the tumbleweed blows down the main Street, guns are slung and Stetsons are tipped, last man standing the name of the game. Putting all that in a modern contemporary setting seems a fun idea and seems to work, perhaps only getting away with it as it is set in Australia so making it somehow ironic. I could see this being panned by the critics for being so obvious if it was a US movie.
The cast is little known so no camera hogging and best line bias and all concerned have fun gently paying their tribute to the genre that created the action movie. As one critic says, it does get a little bit Blazing Saddles towards the and tangled up in chunky dialogue like those tumbleweeds in the barbed wire cattle fences but still moments of cool action and intrigue and, dare I say it, a hint of supernatural to give this above average action film its own kind of stylish appeal. The twist is not too obvious and the film is so neat and distracting you don't twig that twist until the right time.
For its $US20 million it didn't do great business outside of Australia and went largely unseen in America, which is a shame. It will appeal to young adults and up and not too gory or sadistic, subtly funny and revels in that western cliché in away you don't really care. On the whole though it's a good watch and looks great, Patrick Hughes a director for the future, Australia a great blank canvas for younger directors like him to paint their art, earning Expendables 3 for his notable debut here.
= = = = RATINGS = = = =
Imdb.com - 6.4/10.0 (5,324 votes)
Metacrtic.com - 62% critic's approval
Rottentomatos.com - 77% critic's approval
= = = = Critics = = = =
Guardian UK -'The movie is extremely well staged and the young hero's dramatic lineage is established by his resonant name - Shane Cooper'.
The Times -'What an effective calling card for debut writer-director Patrick Hughes this is - if not for the Australian tourist board.'.
Scotsman -'Starts off like a lean, mean Walter Hill movie but ends up going a bit Blazing Saddles'.
Daily Mirror -'Rip-off or homage, it all adds up to an enjoyable stew of a film, even if you find yourself playing 'name that movie' for most of the running time'.
Total Film-'A solid but wayward B-movie that falters just when it should be flying. Still, the premise intrigues'.
The New Yorker -'Yes, this is the land of Mad Max, so the stunts and explosions are of the highest order'.
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