Let me preface this review by saying I’m a big fan of fight flicks. Whether it be tales of charismatic underdogs like "Rocky" or used as a primal device to show the dismay of disenchanted youth ala "Fight Club" there’s always room for a good dukes up ditty. Unfortunately in the case of the new girl-on-girl fight to the death picture titled "Raze" there are neither cool heroes nor underlying meanings. It’s a movie that simply exists to show captive ladies bare-knuckle beating the ever-loving tar out of each other void of any thrills, excitement or glee – a female fight flick that forgets the fun.
Jamie wakes up in a single room and has obviously been kidnapped. She tries to escape, but to no avail. But soon the door opens and she wanders out into the various pathways until she encounters the equally sullen Sabrina. Not sure whether she is friend or foe, Jamie soon learns her new acquaintance is the latter, as she is being held prisoner as a game piece in a sick fight game of captive ladies to the death – may the best and most brutal lady win.
The main problem I had with the joyless nature of "Raze" is I just didn’t care about any of the characters. Zoe Bell kicks good ass as a stunt woman, but is hardly someone to root for here, Rachel Nichols is barely in the film, and even bad girl Rebecca Marshall comes off as a cardboard cutout villain. Not to mention that the actual story portions are kept to a minimum and what’s left are brutal, unrelenting and uncomfortable fights that had me both bored and looking for the exit. (There weren’t even any ‘girls-in-prison’ hot salacious moments by accident to save this sucker!) Director Josh C. Waller seems to think that the more vicious and visceral the altercation here the more entertaining, but his raw and dismal vision all but sucks the life out of a concept that should have been a winner.
What’s saddest here is that even quirky sadistic game wardens played by Doug “Abe Sapien” Jones and Sherilyn “Twin Peaks” Fenn don’t look like they’re having a good time. The feeling is totally mutual – violence for violence sake simply doesn’t make for a good time at the movies.
"RAZE" HITS SELECT THEATRES ON JANUARY 10 FROM IFC MIDNIGHT.
Genre: Action / Drama
Cast: Zoe Bell, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms
Director: Josh Waller
Running Time: 87 Minutes
Release Company: IFC Midnight