After a hard night partying, kickboxer Sabrina (Zoe Bell) wakes up to find herself in an underground bunker. Soon she realises that this bunker is actually a modern day coliseum, where, along with 48 other women, they are condemned to fight each other to the death. The game organisers (Doug Jones and Sherilyn Fenn), turn their hostages into brutal killers by threatening to murder their loved ones should the women refuse to participate in this deathly sport, all for the amusement of unseen spectators. Each of these reluctant warriors have something to lose, but only one will remain when the game is over.
While every now and then it is pleasant to watch a film that tests the limits of sanity in terms of gore and violence it’s hard to watch when the film takes itself seriously, it adds credence to what is happening on screen and makes the film hard to watch making it even harder to find enjoyment in it. Raze pushes the boundaries in this way but it also features some interesting fight scenes and some excellent acting, if only by a few.
The film follows Sabrina (Zoe Bell), a woman who is kidnapped along with 49 other women and taken to an unknown location for one reason and one reason only. She must fight these women if she wants to return to the life she had outside their control. However if she refuses then she will be killed or worse, those she love will be targeted instead as a way to keep her in line. Run by a sick husband and wife team the fights are used to entertain the very rich and disturbed.
The unique part of Raze is how you view it for it is advertised and described as an exploitation film. Sure the women are taken and forced to do horrible things for the sake of their lives, thats probably what they meant by the definition of exploitation but regardless of the mostly all female cast the film there is never a moment when you think these women aren’t capable and more terrifying than any man could be in this universe.
Bell embodies Sabrina and uses her physicality to bring out her personality as well. Sabrina is a strong but empathetic woman and that is what makes her interesting. Her connection to these women and to her life back home makes for a nice internal struggle and Bell chews into it like its steak.
While I expected to loathe the excessive elements of Raze I found a much more entertaining and unexpected film and while the violence and grit may irk some I think deep down Raze is a thoroughly well thought out and conceived film