Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Aussie Action Metal Skin and Blue Murder|
Actors: Tony Martin, Tara Morice / Blue Murder: Richard Roxburgh, Metal Skin: Aden Young
Director: Metal Skin: Geoffrey Wright / Blue Murder: Michael Jenkins
Genres: Action & Adventure, Indie & Art House, Drama, Cult Movies, Mystery & Suspense
METAL SKIN: In this current-day variation on Mad Max from the director of Romper Stomper, Psycho Joe (Aden Young; War Bride) secures employment at a local supermarket. Here, he meets the over-sexed Dazey (Ben Mendelsohn; A... more »
Australian Action Pack
Mel Odom | Moore, OK USA | 12/17/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"METAL SKIN/BLUE MURDER is a one-two action pack from Australia that delves into social injustice, criminals, and bad cops. And there's a lot of cold-blooded violence as well. Neither of the films are for the faint of heart, and if you're looking for redeeming characters, you'd have to be awfully generous to pick one out of the bunch offered here.
With the subject matter and the geography involved, the movies didn't have much to offer outside of Australia. The story in METAL SKIN was set in Melbourne, and even after watching it I didn't connect a whole lot to what life was like there in 1994 when the film was made. The film centers on four teens who aren't exactly enchanted with their lot in life. If I'd been them, I wouldn't have been either. But none of them really pulled me in and made me want to understand them. In fact, the deeper I got into the movie, the more I wanted to hold them at arm's length.
Geoffrey Wright was the writer/director of the film, though others evidently directed some of the sequences according to interviews. Wright also delivered ROMPER STOMPER which catapulted Russell Crowe to international attention.
Joe (Aden Young) has problems with his father, and those aren't played off well enough to make him a sympathetic character by any means. Savina (Tara Morice) just comes across as weird, and the witchcraft thing seems to appear from left field. Dazey (Ben Mendelsohn) is the guy everything comes easy for. And Roslyn (Nadine Garner) who, on the surface, has a good life.
Some of the reviews I've read have suggested there were a lot of Arthurian undertones to the movie. Such as the search for the Holy Grail, which was supposed to be the fastest car in the city so they could win street races. And even the title is supposed to be from a quote by Lancelot in John Boorman's EXCALIBER when Lancelot tells Arthur he gave up everything outside of his metal skin to serve.
I just didn't see those things, and the movie is depressing. There's a lot of truth in it, because there are disaffected teens everywhere that have the same things on their minds. Some of the action sequences were well shot, particularly the racing bits.
But over all the film left me wanting more story and more happiness. That wasn't the intent, of course. And maybe that was part of what Wright was going for. However, he obviously knows how to please his hometown audience because the film won two Australian Academy Awards.
Production values on the set seemed low, but I don't know if it was from the original movie or from the DVD transfer. The colors were washed out in several places. The images weren't sharp as they needed to be, and the final product tended to be grainy, as if it had been shot on video tape instead of film.
METAL SKIN has been reviewed well by those who love it. I'd say that people who are looking for that kind of downbeat film will be happy. But casual viewers might want to give this one a pass.
BLUE MURDER, not to be confused with the British television series by the same name, was a mini-series based on true events. The series focuses on a cop Roger "the Dodger" Rogerson (Richard Roxburgh) and a habitual criminal Arthur "Neddy" Smith (Tony Martin). The two formed a partnership that was mutually beneficial and started pushing each other up in their respective fields.
Some viewers have stated that BLUE MURDER was the basis for the American series THE SHIELD that starred Michael Chiklis as Vic Mackey, the corrupted cop heading up the special detectives collectively called The Barn. I could see where the comparison would arise while watching the mini-series.
The Australian series took reality to heart, though, and the events that played out on television were so close to what actually happened that the show was barred from being broadcast in South Wales, where the events actually took place. It wasn't allowed to be shown there for six years.
The production values of the transfer on this one are essentially the same. They're watered down and tend to be monochromatic at times. However, the story is intensely more interesting, but that may be because everyone understands crime much for than disaffected youth. Or, at least, are more willing to put up with it.
The mini-series made me more curious, which shows like this should do if they're effective, and I dug into the history of the real people involved. If you want a tour through some really sordid criminal dealings and screwed-up justice, just look up the two main players in this drama.
Overall, I was more happy with BLUE MURDER, aside from the transfer problems, than with METAL SKIN. But this one is a two-fer and it might be rewarding to purchase for one or the other, depending on your particular taste.