Director: Geoffrey Wright

Hoff!

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Footscray Station - Melbourne, Australia

A small group of Vietnamese teenagers skateboard down a ramp into a metro station, only to run into a consideraYeah, he's a nut.bly larger group of skinheads. Their skateboard escapades are cut short, as the skinheads separate into groups of three and four, each sect isolating one of the Vietnamese teens, and then proceeds to beat them mercilessly.

After the assault, the skinheads disappear into the darkness, as one of the teens (still able to walk), limps around to his friends to check on their condition. After one of the girls fail to respond to his provocation, he cries out in anguish.

The next morning, Gabe is sitting outside of her house, waiting patiently, as a voice from inside rants and raves incomprehensibly. Finally, a car arrives, and two gentleman step out - one being older and distinguished, the other ranging well above the six foot mark, and built like an ox. The three enter the house, and are immediately attacked by the source of the aforementioneA bath may be required after viewing this scened raving. The ox-like man quickly incapacitates the delirious occupant, who turns out to be Gabe's junkie boyfriend. Then Gabe and the older man, Martin, quickly adjourn to her room, and begin packing her things. Martin chastises Gabe for her incessant drug-taking, and her ironic refusal to take the one drug she needs to suppress her epilepsy. Then, taking Gabe into his arms, he asks if she has been hurt. Martin slowly caresses her face, his hand dragging down her shoulder, eventually landing on a breast, to which she freezes up and replies, "Can't you just be nice to me?" He replies that she's always wanted it before, to which Gabe immediately slaps him, and he strikes back with a slap of his own.

That night, at the Railway Hotel Pub, the skinheads arrive for a night of drinking and merriment. There, the lYup, another nut.eader of the skins, Hando, and his second, Davey, first see Gabe. Approximately five minutes later, at a closed, indoor strip mall, Hando and Gabe make out while the rest of the skins terrorize a homeless man. Later, while Hando horseplays with Davey, Gabe pines for a coat in a nearby display case. After confirming that she really wants that jacket, Hando picks up a trashcan and heaves it through the display window. He then takes the coat, and Davey, in turn, takes a beret, cutting his hand in the process. And again, the skinheads make off into the night.

They return home, which happens to be a dilapidated, vacant tire warehouse the skins rent out. Much to his embarrassment, Gabe cares for Davey's wounded hand, and after bandaging him up, she is literally swept off her feet by Hando and carried off to his room (for a feverish night of Parcheesi, I'm sure). There, as Hando dispenses of Gabe's clothes as fast as his fingers allow, Gabe repMilk: It does a skinhead goodeatedly asks, "Do you love me?" Which, of course, falls to deaf ears, as Hando, naturally, has something entirely different on his mind.

The next day, they are visited by Magoo, and his affiliate group of skinheads. They throw a big party in their honor, during which both Davey and Hando's complete attention is on Gabe, and after Hando, once again, sweeps Gabe off into his room, the dismayed Davey excuses himself from the festivities, and proceeds to take his frustrations out on a punching bag.

The following afternoon, while playing pinball at the Railway Hotel, two of the skinheads notice a family of Vietnamese talking to the pub's owner, closing out a business transaction where they will assume ownership of the bar, and transform it into a restaurant. The skins quickly make tracks back to the warehouse, and inform Hando of the recent Vietnamese acquisition. Both Hando and Magoo's gangs quickly pile up into a car, and make their way to the pub.

Once at the bar, it doesn't take long foKinda of reminds me of when they fit all those clowns in one of those itty-bitty cars...r a dozen-plus skinheads to detain and torture the two Vietnamese boys. Unbeknownst to them, however, a third arrives, and realizing the plight of this brothers, runs to a nearby factory and demands reinforcements. Not three minutes later, a dozen or so Vietnamese arrive at the bar, and a near-riot ensues. Then, a dozen more Vietnamese arrive, and the riot becomes a massacre. Realizing that theodds, for once, are not 8 to 1, Hando, Davey, and the rest of the skinheads who aren't incapacitated, make a run for it. The Vietnamese take chase, picking off one or two skins along the way. The rest make it back to the warehouse (yeah, show them where you live - that's smart), and begin to barricade the doors. Hando, tired from running (not to mention psychotic), decides he's going to take his stand here. Davey and Gabe, however, beg to differ, and convince him to continue the retreat. They head out to the roof via a secret door, and are about to make off into the city, until Davey realizes that they left Gabe's jacket behind. He retrieves the coat without a second to spare, as the Vietnamese finally bash their way into the warehouse, and proceed to set it in flames.

The skinheads are quick to commandeer yet another warehouse, evicting the two previous occupants with promises that if they return, they'll cut their legs off. That night, using the small supply of food in the house, Gabe prepares pastaAw, it MUST be a love story! with vegetable sauce, which the skinheads, who are tired and hungry, quickly devour (save Hando, that is, who isn't pleased with the "wop crap," and chucks his plate against a wall). After dinner, Davey and Gabe are doing the dishes, and some inadvertent water splashing turns into a flirtatious towel fight. The frolicking ceases, however, when the excitement causes Gabe to fall into an epileptic fit; which comes as surprise to the gang, particularly Hando and Davey, who were, up to that point, unaware of her affliction. After this revelation, Hando begins to lose romantic interest.

After the minor medical crisis, the evening's conversation turns to plans of revenge against the Vietnamese who thwarted them. The conversation goes into even more dangerous territory, when the acquisition of guns comes into question. For guns they'll need money, and what's a better way to get money than to rob somebody? But who should they rob? This question is answered by Gabe, who knows exactly where the best robbery candidate lives.

So, they venture to Martin's house. Gabe charms her way into Martin's lush bachelor pad, as the skinheads wait anxiously outside. It takes approximately one drink before he starts to put the moves on Gabe, who then pours her beverage on his head (making it look like an accident), and while he's away composing himself, she lets in the skinheads. After beating Martin up, they tie him to the toilet, and begin to ransack the house. But the discovery of Martin's wine collection slows Here's to good friends, tonight is kinda special...down their progress, as the skins begin to drink themselves belligerent. Meanwhile, while Hando and the others smash one of the foreign cars out in the garage, Gabe confronts Martin in the bathroom. We then come to find out that Martin is actually Gabe's father, and this is revenge for all his years of abuse. Later, in the Master Bedroom, Gabe and Davey talk about how she wants to take Hando away from this crazy life, perhaps go on a holiday, and take Davey along as well. Martin, in the meantime, frees himself, retrieves a pistol hidden in the pantry, and sets out to take back what's his. The skinheads narrowly escape with their lives, but in the process, have no chance to retrieve any of the loot.

The next morning, the gang is disgruntled and bitter, and after a few harsh words, Hando and Gabe are on the outs. Furious with being dumped, Gabe storms out of the warehouse. Davey stops her, and asks if he can come along. She tells him no, there is something she has to do. Davey then gives her the address of hisThese kids, nowadays, with their little pistols, and their little skinned-heads grandmother, where he will be staying, and says if she ever wants him, that's where he'll be. She leaves, and Davey leaves as well. Gabe then proceeds to a nearby phone booth, and makes an anonymous call to the police.

After waking up to learn the water has been turned off, Hando wanders outside to look for a spicket. Around the back of the building, he notices the cops about to infiltrate their hideout. From the window, Hando watches helplessly as his friends are beaten and arrested; the youngest of the bunch, Bubs, is killed in the fray.

Hando, desperate, searches out Davey at his grandmother's house. He enters the room to find Davey in bed with Gabe. After Hando accuses her of selling them out, Davey lies and says she was with him all night (though he doesn't know if she made the call or not). Hando then pleads to Davey that he is all he has left. So, with Gabe in tow, theYou gotta give them some credit, skinheads get *all* the beautiful women!y rob a convenience store for some travelling cash, and go on the lam.

Finally, after driving all night, they stop for a break on a beach. There, Gabe eavesdrops on the last part of a conversation between Hando and Davey, and mistakenly interprets that they are going to leave her behind. Gabe, who obviously has a rejection complex, sets their getaway car on fire, and openly admits to Hando about selling his friends out to the police. Hando, in turn, attacks Gabe, and it's Davey who must choose between his best friend, and the girl he loves.

I really enjoyed this film, particularly the acting. All the performances were well-done and believable, especially Russell Crowe's portrayal of Hando. I expect a lot of good things from Crowe (I'll just pretend I didn't see Virtuosity); he has a charisma many actors today lack. That, plus he has a kMilk and exercise will help keep your bigot nice and strongnack for playing a nut (see: this film and L.A. Confidential).

This movie is simply brimming with energy - the chase scene, in particular. Now, I've seen this film on several occasions, and with many different audiences, and the riot/chase scene is always the dominant point of conversation afterwards. Insert adrenaline here.

The only real problem I have with Romper Stomper is the rather ambiguous story. It seems like it can't decide if it's a tale centered on racial tension, or if it's a love story. To me, it's love story, with a skinhead subplot. But at many points during the film, it's like the movie is more concerned with the race issue, than it is the love story. But a little over the halfway mark, the race element is unceremoniously dropped - without any substantial resolution. Which brings forth the question, how can you have a movie about Nazi skinheads, and yet not focus on them being Nazi skinheads? Confused yet? I am. So, basically, the story is a little convoluted, but this is only a minor complaint. Check it out.

Just a little of the sides...d'oh!

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These are the times of which to cherish...

 

Aw shit, it's no longer five on one!  We better get outta here!!

The aforementioned gang fight/chase scene. I'd almost describe it as classic.

- Listen for the scream in the background while Davey is getting his head shaved.

- Try and decipher the lyrics to the various punk songs featured in the film - this ain't The Mommas and the Poppas.

That Magoo (left), he has a way with the ladies

Sentimental Magoo, who whispers sweet nothings to his girlfriend like, "You will damn well do as your told, woman!" And his criticism of her snacking, "I'm not going to live with no fat bitch!" Who says romance is dead?

- The moving scene where Hando and Gabe are getting to know one another. Gabe starts by describing how beautiful her Mom was, but her train of thought digresses into how her Mom's head was lopped off in a car accident - all the while, she maintains the same cheery tone. Hando then opens up by explaining why he is an advocate for ethnic cleansing, and then charms Gabe with readings from select passages of Mein Kempf. Isn't love beautiful?

 

Buy it! We love your money!

 

-- Copyright 2000 by J. Bannerman

 

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