How many more do I have to kill?

Year Released : 2013Raze-DVD
Director : Josh Waller
Cast : Zoe Bell, Rebecca Marshall, Rachel Nichols, Tracie Thoms and Bruce Thomas

One of my favourite films is the 1999 David Fincher classic “Fight Club”, so naturally when I see the a film described as “if Fight Club was made with female characters” I will automatically take an interest. It is a bold claim though as any film claiming that it’s like another right off of the bat is asking for trouble. It’s almost as ridiculous as the writer of Hunger Games trying to claim that she’d never seen Battle Royale before writing it. It’s nonsense.

But if there’s one thing that doing this site has taught me it is never to judge a film before I’ve watched it, so I’m going to give Raze the benefit of the doubt on this one, although it’s hard not to go in with expectations set to a certain level…even if it does resemble Cube more than Fight Club.

Plot

A woman wakes up in a prison style environment before she encounters Sabrina (Bell). Sabrina claims to not know what is happening but turns on the woman at the first opportunity, killing her. It turns out that they were both involved in a battle to survive against each other, with women randomly selected to face each other and the winner being the one to kill the other. They are not fighting for themselves however, they are also aware that if they lose their fight then a loved one dies.

Sabrina and Phoebe (Marshall) share a very antagonistic relationship and whenever all the survivors are forced to interact with each other, the two consistently verbally battle. As both win their fights against other women with ease, it’s only a matter of time before they have to face each other, but Sabrina has more than simply winning in mind as she orchestrates an escape.

However, one of the rules of the competition is that if a competitor can’t continue for whatever reason they must be replaced, and that adds an extra danger that neither Sabrina or Phoebe could plan for.

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So, is it like Fight Club?

In some ways it is a mixture of several films and whilst I wouldn’t say it was like Fight Club in a lot of ways, in other ways it is, mainly due to the violent nature of the film it does feel both unique and familiar at the same time, mainly due to several aspects being very similar to other movies. Other such films that I got a feeling for whilst watching Raze were Battle Royale, Mortal Kombat, Cube, Gamer and several others, it’s a decent enough mix but it also feels unique in many ways.

I can’t think of another film truly like it and in that sense I would tip my hat to them if I was wearing one). It’s nice to see a relatively unique idea that whilst using elements from other films, doesn’t verge of plagiarism.

Raze feels almost very tribal in nature due to it’s arena based fighting and the music being played in the background, but arguably the most interesting aspect is that the women have to socialise with each other outside of the fights as they have to sit in a room together, sharing insults and taunts. The relationships between the characters are quite interesting to watch and the character of Phoebe is by far the most interesting to watch.

Having said that, Phoebe is the only character who is interesting, and that’s not really that difficult to say considering she is the only character with any personality whatsoever. All of the other characters, including Sabrina, are so woefully underdeveloped and emotionally constipated that you generally don’t care who wins. lives, dies, etc, and that is never a good thing. You should never watch a film about people fighting to the death and have no emotional impact when a competitor dies.

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Because I didn’t care about most of the characters I soon started losing interest in the film and after the initial excitement around the film faded, mainly due to there being virtually no development at all in the story until late on. By the time the story does finally move on from watching the same boring women have the exact same monotonous fights with each other, I had already lost complete interest and found the ending more forced.

I’m even struggling to write a review of my normal length because it lost my interest that much and that quickly. Don’t get me wrong, Raze is not an awful film by any stretch of the imagination and I imagine that if you’re in the right mood then you’ll probably enjoy it, but I wasn’t in that mood at the time of watching.

In many ways it almost doesn’t feel right reviewing it as a horror film because there are no horror aspects to it, except for maybe the situation that the women find themselves in, but I am qualifying it as a horror film because it was on the Horror Channel, and unfortunately, if it is intended to be a horror film then it fails miserably.

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Summary

Raze starts off with a bang but very quickly loses it’s appeal as it becomes extremely repetitive in showing the same types of fights over and over and over again. With a painfully bland cast of characters they really needed a flowing story, but Raze feels like it stalls in first gear and takes too long for the story to move on.

By the time it moved onto the final section of the film I had already lost a lot of interest and no longer cared for what happened.

Whilst not an awful film, it’s average score of 5.1/10 on IMDB (at the time of writing) is pretty accurate as it’s nothing more than bang average.

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