Turkey Shoot (2014)

Director: Jon Hewitt

I was surprised to see Turkey Shoot listed in the TV guide for tonight, even more so when I saw it was a remake and not the 1982 film, and I was particularly surprised to see Jon Hewitt was the director… somebody’s come a long way from cheap shot-on-video vampire flicks made with the fascist pseud Wolstonecroft, hasn’t he? Hewitt’s avowed intention was to remake the Trenchard-Smith film for what he described as “a relatively undemanding international audience”, but minus the irony and the camp and to make it realistic instead, and in the process he seems to have mostly actually remade The Running Man… As in the original, it’s the nearish future and we have a sort of far-right government ruling things, albeit this time with the novelty of a war in Africa in the background (featuring Roger ward’s moustache as a Libyan dictator); our hero is a disgraced Navy SEAL accused of massacring innocents in the course of same, who gets the opportunity to play for a pardon on a reality show called Turkey Shoot, by pitting himself against a legion of people trying to kill him.

GODDAMN, I don’t think I’ve seen a locally-made film since Harlequin that was so vague about where it was supposed to be set (cars with left-hand drive but Victorian rego plates?). Funnily enough, that film was also produced by Tony Ginnane and had, well, issues when it came to the actors’ wobbly accents (Nicholas Hammond is particularly shaky)… but the accents are the least of this film’s problems. The whole thing really is just cack-handed—particularly the attempts at satire on reality TV and the state of modern warfare—and its cheapness is screamingly obvious in almost every way; can’t find an actual budget for it, but it just looks cheap and tatty from start to finish. I don’t know, I get the feeling that somewhere along the way there’s been producer trouble, and that Ginnane’s long-standing interest in the “relatively undemanding international audience” was greater than Hewitt’s, as well as the latter’s interest in subtext. And it’s just no fun, unlike the original Turkey Shoot, and that’s probably the worst thing about the new one. Sometimes a bit of cheese actually lifts things surprisingly high…

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