Echo Bridge Home Entertainment // 2003 // 98 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Pritchard (Retired) // June 6th, 2008
"Robert Kennedy said: "Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves' -- well, congratulations Australia, you've earned us!"
Based loosely upon the case of the "Hedge-Burners," a gang that plagued Melbourne during the eighties and videotaped its attacks, Razor Eaters, released theatrically in 2003, is finally made available on Region 1 DVD; but should anyone be interested?
Detective Danny Berdan (Paul Moder), has just seen his case against a violent gang which calls itself the Razor Eaters closed down. Frustrated and unwilling to let go, Burden scours over the evidence, amongst which is the video footage captured by the gang themselves, documenting the campaign of terror. But can Berdan find the missing pieces to finally bring the gang to justice?
Shot on a tiny budget, which shows at nearly every turn, Razor Eaters reeks of desperation. Trying hard to be confrontational and daring and challenging the viewer's perception on crime along the way, the film fails on all fronts, ending up a barely watchable wreck. Though the film appears to have a small but somewhat vocal fanbase, bestowing the film with lofty accolades, often comparing it favorably to Fight Club, there's no getting away from the fact that Razor Eaters feels like a student film, aching to say something, but never quite sure of what that something actually is.
Comparisons to Fight Club are inevitable. Fans of David Fincher's movie or Chuck Palahniuk's book from which the film was adapted will find Tyler Durden's influence all over Razor Eaters, specifically "Project Mayhem," Tyler's anti-capitalist extension of Fight Club. Like Durden and his "Space Monkeys," the Razor Eaters embark on a rampage of anarchy, taking on what they see as injustice, but unlike Durden and Co. Roger, Anthony, Zach, Orville, and Rob (the members of the gang), appear to be somewhat confused in their motivations and are neither as radical in their thinking or as disciplined as the members of Project Mayhem. It's difficult to find any sympathy or understanding for a group that kills a drug dealer one minute, on their twisted moral crusade, then callously murders an apparently innocent motorist, simply for annoying them, the next.
Despite its shortcomings, Razor Eaters takes an interesting, though not exactly original, approach to presenting its story. In a nod to Man Bites Dog, the actions of the Razor Eaters are captured on a video camera that the group carries with them, seemingly at all times. Subsequently, the lion's share of the film is made up of this footage. Breaking up these sequences and helping to drive the plot forward are short intervals where the detective recently removed from the case examines the footage in a desperate attempt to find the missing pieces that will lead him to the gang.
Had the film contained more engaging characters or a more engrossing storyline, the slightly ambiguous reasoning behind the gang's crusade may have been forgivable. Sadly, despite the film effectively documenting the Razor Eaters' reign of terror that includes numerous violent confrontations, it's all just a bit boring. The characters, particularly their leader Zach, soon grow tiresome with their self-righteous speeches and macho posing. Even worse, the film is totally uninspiring aesthetically, lacking any style whatsoever; the contrast between the video footage of the gang's escapades, and the scenes of Detective Berdan, which are shot on film, fails to add any interest.
Onto the technical specs, and things aren't much better. The transfer is really quite dull, lacking any great detail and, especially during the video footage, quite ugly, with frequent cases of noise. Audio is a similar story, with both the 2.0 and 5.1 soundtracks being flat mixes that hardly help rouse the viewers' attention.
Perhaps surprisingly for a film shot on such a low budget, there are a decent amount of extras. While none of these are particularly entertaining, the glimpse into what went into making a film on such a small budget at least proves vaguely interesting.
In spite of its confrontational approach and an unreserved violent tone, Razor Eaters proves to be a lackluster affair. Despite a clearly enthusiastic cast and crew, the movie offers nothing new and lacks anything to make it worthy of a recommendation. As heavy-handed and self-important as the gang it portrays, Razor Eaters is a total misfire.
Review content copyright © 2008 Paul Pritchard; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Unrated
* Deleted and Extended Scenes
* Video Diary
* A Look at FX
* Theatrical Trailers
* Music Video "Razor Blade" by Murderdrive
* Official Site