Zoë Bell is a face you may not recognize at first glance, but you’ve seen her in some your favorite movies. Her most notable performance was as Uma Thurman’s stunt double in the KILL BILL franchise - she was the one doing all the cool shit. She was also the girl on top of the 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T — with no wires, just pure adrenaline — during the insane chase scene in Quentin Tarantino’s DEATH PROOF. Besides her stint in that, she’s never really had her day in the sun (we are going to pretend BITCH SLAP never, ever happened).
RAZE is a solid action film with bell as a strong lead. She gets to shine as a badass and beat the hell out of everything that gets in her way. She she also shows she can actually act without having to throw a fist — give her some lines of melancholic dialogue and I guarantee she can deliver it better than Arnold Schwarzenegger and all those tough guys out there.
In RAZE, women with some kind of fighting skill wake up in a cell with no recollection of how they got there. They soon learn they have to fight and stay alive, or the organization behind this twisted business will kill whatever loved one most important to them.
The fights are set up nicely; we get character development in between — who’s who, and the loved one they are trying to stay alive for — and then the screen goes black with Character Name Vs. Character Name (this is very important for the last fight, which is just plain badass), and then the bloody mayhem begins. The fighting is not held back — these women are gladiators, so skulls are bashed in and eyes are gouged out — lots of blood is spilled. Pretty much anything goes in this bareknuckle arena. But in this movie, these ladies are not enjoying killing one another. They are thrown into a situation where, if they aren’t the last one standing, their loved one will also perish.
This will no doubt get compared to FIGHT CLUB and HOSTEL for obvious reasons, but whatever, this movie stands on its own by giving post-brutal fight real human emotion. These trained fighters don’t want to be there and they don’t want to kill someone they don’t know but they have to. It’s kill or be killed with the knowledge your loved one will follow suit if you don’t win.
Bell as the lead was a brilliant choice. She proves she can carry a film, dish out real human emotion just shortly after beat the shit out of someone who deserves to get the shit beat out of them. I hope Hollywood takes note and gives her more chances for top billing.
You should watch this — maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about how much blood explodes when slamming someone’s head against a brick wall.
RAZE is the ultimate midnight movie.
And before I’m off, it should also be noted that this is the first time you see Doug Jones as Doug Jones, without pounds of makeup, except he’s still a character and really shines with what little screen time he has.