Jessica runs an animal sanctuary in Australia's Outback; isolated from the outside, she makes due with saving and taking care of the animals herself. When three kangaroo hunters show up she takes to defending the animals she loves but soon the hunters set their sights on Jessica herself.
From coming off the effects of this year's 'Women in Horror Month’; an interesting event that has more than a few movies being underappreciated or overstated in the name of feminism and horror. I figured I’d cover a title that seems to go unnoticed during this event, and in general, which is the 1986 Australian movie "Fair Game". Not to give off the wrong idea that this movie is strictly related to feminism and journalism of genre titles - that's not the case at all. But when it comes to that subject matter, the subgenre that's always talked about is of course the rape/revenge films and whether or not they do indeed empower women. "Fair Game" is a title that I think would be brought up more often because while it's not exactly horror or typical trashy exploitation fare, the movie's themes and plot are embedded heavily in the rape/revenge style. Only difference is that "Fair Game" contains none of the rape and all of the empowerment that I think some people are looking for. One could say that "Fair Game" is the 'Diet Coke' of trash flicks.
I do find myself at odds and ends with what type of a movie I consider "Fair Game" to be - like I said, the movie shares similarities to rape/revenge cinema, albeit a bit different. The plot consists of a woman named Jessica running a wildlife sanctuary out in the wilderness being terrorized by three hunters. While a lot of plot descriptions for the movie say, "The three men become bored and take to killing the sanctuary animals and 'have fun' with Jessica." That's not entirely true. A lot of what goes on is the men doing something, Jessica retaliates, then the men doing something else, Jessica retaliates again, etc. The character Jessica is the modern day don't-need-no-man-ain't-gonna-take-no-shit-off-of-no-man type of a woman. And the three hunters (Sony, Ringo, Sparks) are typical hick-archetypes that take what they want. So from the start, the three backwoods-hunters act like typical chauvinistic pigs when they get around Jessica, but when she stands up for herself and gives back more than what she receives. The men take to doing whatever they can to put Jessica, in her place: skinned kangaroo in her car, taking pictures of her while she sleeps in the nude, terrorizing animals, killing animals, etc.
The repertoire between our protagonist and our antagonists has that rape/revenge sensation - the men wronged the woman, the woman gets revenge. The difference being there is no rape. The men certainly objectify Jessica - especially in the scene that's laced with symbolism where the hunters strap Jessica down to the hood of their truck, and strip her of her clothes and then proceed to drive around with her mounted like a trophy catch. "Fair Game" never actually becomes rape/revenge but still has that trashy-exploitation vibe going on while the movie builds to the violent climax of when characters are finally dispatched with. I've seen a few other critics compare this movie to the likes of "The Most Dangerous Game" and I think that's more than a fair assessment of the style and plot of "Fair Game".
The movie kind of walks a fine line between exploitation and action movie - regardless of what it is or is not, "Fair Game" is still an excellent and a bit of an underrated piece of women-empowered revenge cinema. I know in this review I focused a lot on the whole man/woman/feminist bit, but that's honestly what I got out of the movie. The men are epitome of scumbag machismo that'll make the men watching the movie say, "I'd totally kick their asses if I saw them doing that." While it makes the women watching start to really consider the whole lesbian thing. You hate the men who are the antagonists, and the other men who show up in the movie, who aren't the bad-guys, are totally useless. It essentially leaves you with the only option (not that it's a bad thing) of cheering on Jessica while you continue to watch the movie, hoping she gets the payback she so rightfully deserves. Not to sell "Fair Game", as a whole, short since it is a good movie from our buddies down under - It's a well made movie with good acting, some great scenes, great tension, and a more than satisfying conclusion. (The dog lives!) But the movie is what it is, and even so, I definitely recommend it since I think it deserves a little more recognition than it gets.