Who doesn’t like a decent, bare-fist (and kicks and what have you) catfight? However, the fights in this brutal film do not end at KOs – you guessed it. The ladies have to fight each other till the very end. There is however some hair pulling/tearing.
The film has some very attractive women going at each other and not Dwayne Johnson and Dutch from Predator, 1987. So yes, it’s sorta like a feminist film saying bad things about feminism. Yet, the themes of perseverance and the subjugation and exploitation of women are being explored here, half-heartedly.
If you ever liked or still like the B-films from the Sixties films like, Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, 1965 that exploit the then newly invented emancipation of womenfolk, you will like Raze. More films for the sake of commonality would be the superior French film, Martyrs, 2010 (not at all comparing, just that the elite behind the half-silvered mirror are present here also); the French; Contestant 13, 2005 and the Mickey Rourke starrer, 13, 2008, that seized pole position in Europe more than home country, US.
Perhaps my nose will be pretty close to the grindstone if I say the action sequences in the film (highly realistic and pretty close to Fincher‘s swing at us back in 1999); it reminded me of Tarantino‘s much disliked Grindhouse, 2007 of which, the lead here, Zoë Bell is a significant part. Let it be. My nose? Close to the grindstone; as it always gives way to a thrust of mania, caught in a bottle, like lightening.
I liked Snake Plisskin as the maniac driver with a killer of a muscle ride (Death Proof, 2007) and also the treatment of Grindhouse as whole- (Planet Terror is a favorite). Plus Zoë Bell, the lead actor in this film started her career as an actress in Death Proof. Before Tarantino offered her the role, she was a stunt double at Hollywood. She is ferocious in this film, and fights with calculated rage. Watch out for the Cody vs. Phoebe sequence, it does not have Sabrina (Bell), but watch it closely for reasons only fans (of claustrophobic combat) would appreciate.
The plot is paper-thin, a handful of dialogues are there for the sake of the nineteen action sequences (cage fights) appear linear and present the allusion of time from the kidnapping to the “Liu Kang Wins – Finish him!” arrangement (even if its something trivial), however, the mood is pretty intense and the narrative is fast-paced. No wonder they call it a pacemaker. Bad Joke, however apt for this review. For you see, this film belongs to a quite peculiar and a risqué genre: ‘kill stranger and win freedom‘. A genre made popular by J. D. Salinger and then Kinji Fukasaku made the mother of them all in 2000. Also, despite director Josh C. Waller trying very hard to sidetrack stereotypes typically seen within the largely exploitative subgenre of women-in-prison (Caged Heat, 1974 by Jonathan Demme) a large part of the film is force-feeding the machine.; again, notwithstanding the intentions of Waller and despite keeping away from gratuitous gore.
Also watch out for the cameos.
I liked it, it was entertaining; if I may.
Raze is on Netflix and the DVD can be bought by clicking on the image above.