“Raze” was one of those films that I didn’t know a whole lot about, and I wasn’t exactly jumping for joy about seeing it. But I had heard of it, and decided to give it a shot. Man, was I in for a surprise.
“Raze” begins with a girl in a bar, being wooed by her date. The next scene, she is at her home. While talking to a girlfriend on the phone and running a bath, she is attacked by a masked man. She awakes in an unknown location, full or prison cells and an elevator. The elevator takes her to a pit, where 2 women enter and only one leaves.
While it sounds like a plot that has been done ad nauseum, the stylistic approach of director Josh C. Walker brings a change of pace. The film reminds me of some of the ultra-violent Japanese films of the 90’s and early 2000’s (Battle Royale came to mind as the credits rolled). It seems almost playful in mood, but you quickly realize this is going to be a bleak tale from start to finish.
The stakes are pretty high for the 49 women that have been abducted, and forced to fight. You discover that our main character “Sabrina” ( Zoe Bell) is fighting because the abductors will kill her daughter if she doesn’t fight. You find that the other women are in the same situation. One of their family members is under watch. Mothers, sons, daughters. Etc…
If you refuse to fight: They die.
If you lose the fight: They die.
Try to run: They die.
The fight scenes are absolutely awesome. Josh C. Walker stated that he wished the fights to seem “realistic” and tried to avoid any over-the-top violence. However, there is no lack of blood and gore, and one scene will leave you positively speechless with it’s sheer brutality. The fighting and effects are very believable, and Zoe Bell really shines in her role as “Sabrina”. If you are not familiar with Zoe Bell, she is a famous stunt woman. She has worked on quite a few blockbusters such as: “Death proof”, “Kill Bill”, and “Xena”. Zoe is a master of many different martial arts, and of course…does all of her own stunts! That doesn’t mean that her acting is shabby. This is the first role for her, being the center-piece, and I think she does a fantastic job.
Bailey Anne Borders plays the sociopath “Cody”. While her performance is good, she never really comes across as 100% believable. It kind of takes you of the film, but when it comes to the action scenes with Cody, she is relentless and clearly without conscious. Her character is pure evil, and only makes the situation worse for the other women. What’s worse than having to fight to the death? Having to fight a totally insane person, with nothing to lose and a disturbing blood lust. She doesn’t want to win the tournament. She just wants to kill as many people as she can.
So why is this all happening? Who is behind the whole thing?
I’ll leave that up to you to find out. I don’t want to spoil everything. There are a few twists and turns, especially towards the end of the film. This one is totally worth a viewing. The plot may seem familiar, but it is well executed. Check it out!