Umbrella has wowed me once again with their new Blu-ray release of the 1984 Ozploitation classic, Razorback! Directed by Russell Mulcahy, who went on to direct Highlander, Razorback centers on a vicious wild boar terrorizing the Australian outback. The first victim being a small child, the child's grandfather is brought to trail for supposedly killing the child, but is never acquitted. Things are quiet for two years, until the beast claims the life of an American reporter, which sends the reporter's husband on a hunt for answers and revenge.
Razorback is a film, to me, that was way ahead of its time. The direction of Mulcahy and his music video work with Durran Durran and Dean Semler's lavish cinematography, highly influenced the gorgeous cinematic shots of the Australian outback, with beautiful colors of dusk and dawn, dream sequences, and camera-crafted tension. The film boasts a fantastic cast across the board, with Gregory Harrison, Arkie Whiteley, Bill Kerr, and Judy Morris all delivering solid performances. And of course, the most memorable and quite disturbing roles are those of two vile, kangaroo poaching brothers, Benny and Dicko, portrayed by Chris Haywood and David Argue. You'll be hoping for their death's as soon as their introduced on screen.
I also want to highlight the amazing special effects involved in the film and the boar itself. The animatronic work still holds up today and while there's not much blood or gore involved in Razorback, there's plenty of disturbing content. Kangaroo slaughter, a dog hit by a truck, and rape are just a few of the unsettling moments. These are things that were mostly unheard of in a film released during this time.
Now, onto the actual Blu-ray release from Umbrella. I couldn't be more impressed with this release, when I popped in the disc and started the film, I couldn't believe I was watching the same film I'd seen on VHS years ago. Umbrella did such a phenomenal job with restoring Razorback, it's borderline perfect! This is, hands down, the best the film has ever looked! The sound is also equally on par with the picture quality for this release, it's never sounded better. There's a ton of great special features loaded onto the release as well, including commentary with director Russell Mulcahy and moderated by Shane Armstrong, hours of interviews with cast, crew, and critics, a wonderful retrospective, deleted scenes, and more. Also included is a VHS cut of the film, which allows you to see just how much work went into restoring the film.
Released among a sea of Jaws clones, this porcine predator stands out as one of my favorite creature features of the 80's and I couldn't be happier to see it get the home video release it deserves! Razorback is a pivotal and influential entry in Aussie cinema and truly deserves wider recognition. Thankfully, companies like Umbrella feel the same and they have released the definitive version of the film. If you've seen and enjoy Razorback, you must own this version. If you haven't, you should still buy this Blu-ray, I can't recommend it enough!
Audio commentary with director Russell Mulcahy and Shayne Armstrong
Audio interview with actor Gregory Harrison
JAWS ON TROTTERS: Featuring interviews with director Russell Mulcahy, producer Hal McElroy, Razorback creator Bob McCarron, composer Iva Davies and cast Judy Morris and Chris Haywood.
Extended interviews with cast and crew from Mark Hartley’s NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD
Grisly deleted scenes with new optional audio commentary
RAZORBACK: THE VHS CUT – the original uncut 4:3 Australian home video version
A CERTAIN PIGGISH NATURE: Looking Back at Razorback