Underbelly Razor Blu-ray Review - www.impulsegamer.com -
Underbelly Razor Blu-ray
Reviewed by
John Black
on
Underbelly Razor Blu-ray Review Even though the series was not set in the present, it is probably one of the better Underbelly releases due to the acting, direction and engaging story.
Rating:
4.25

Feature 8.5
Video 9.0
Audio 9.0
Special Features 7.0
Total 8.6
Distributor: Roadshow
Running Time: TBA Minutes
Reviewer: John Black
Classification
: MA15+

8.6


Underbelly Razor Uncut

Recently aired by Channel 9, UNDERBELLY RAZOR [uncut] is now available on Blu-ray which expands the original broadcast of this gripping crime drama. Unlike the previous three Underbelly series (Underbelly, Underbelly: The Golden Mile or the Underbelly Files), this current story is set in the early 20th century century that once again details real events set in Sydney during 1927 to 1936. It has been dubbed as the birth of organised crime within Australia.


THE CAST OF UNDERBELLY RAZOR

As a reviewer, I believe that the Underbelly franchise has been so popular because of the slick presentation of the stories and although some believe that they glamorise crime, it actually makes the characters seem more realistic and more immersive for the viewer. Not that I condone the criminal actions showcased in the series. However, with that said, Underbelly Razor also contains the over the top sex scenes and violence which made the previous three series so popular and controversial. So if this offends... you have been warned and the content in this series is sometimes quite disturbing at times such as rapes as hideous antiquated abortions... not to mention the sickening violence.

In essence, this 13-part series revolves around the "razor gangs" who attempted to control Sydney's criminal underworld with two main protagonists or "vice queens", Tilly Devine (Chelsie Preston Crayford) and Kate Leigh (Danielle Cormack). The series was also based on the novel by Larry Writer (no pun intended) and in comparison with the TV series or Blu-ray release, the producers have followed the novel quite close.


Kate Leigh Danielle Cormack as Kate Leigh

Another highlight of the series are the settings and costumes of all the characters involved which mimic the era that this story is set, during the Australian Depression. Given that, the writers of the TV series have used some artistic liberty to fill in quite a few gaps but the main theme remains as authentic as possible.

In relation to the glamorisation of crime in the Underbelly series, one note of interest is the comparison between the actresses who played these crime matriarchs to their real-world counterparts. Whereas the actresses look like models who would not look out of place on a catwalk and some in a high class strip club, the real life photos in the book of the people in question look like normal average people. But hey, Channel 9 have set the bar and what works, works...

Underbelly Razor also succeeds is through its gripping stories and how all the characters showcased in the series are somehow related to the bigger picture. With the classic and seedy music that has become a staple of Underbelly, it plays in the background that is really used to tug at your emotional heartstrings. It's definitely a jungle out there!


Anna McGahan as the beautiful Nellie Cameron

Joining the line-up of characters besides the two vice queens is Anna McGahan as Nellie Cameron, a prostitute caught up in the violence of the razor gangs and she makes the biggest transformation in the series from an innocent girl whose eyes are opened up to the dangers of the criminal underworld. Jack Campbell stars as "Big Jim" Devine, Tilly Devine's husband with John Batchelor starring as Wally Tomlinson, boyfriend and associate of Kate Leigh.

I also enjoyed how Underbelly Razor highlighted the inexperience of the police force in the Depression which focuses on Sergeant Tom Wickham (Steve Le Marquand) who helped found the first drug squad in New South Wales. Two other officers of note are Detective Inspector Bill Mackay (Craig Hall) and my favourite character in the entire series, Lillian May Armfield (Lucy Wigmore) who plays one of Australia's first policewomen. Needless to say, there is a stellar cast of actors and actresses involved in Underbelly Razor which makes this release extremely polished.

Special Features

  • Bonus Razor Scenes

  • Featurette 'Past to Present'

  • Photo Gallery by Stills Photographer: David Dare Paker


Chelsie Preston Crayford as Tilly Devine

Final Thoughts

Underbelly Razor is a very bumpy ride and what starts innocently enough when Tilly Devine steals Kate Leigh's dog, this becomes the catalyst for a 10 year criminal war. From here the "razor gangs" commence, while the two vice queens crank up their criminal activities such as prostitution and drug trafficking.

Needless to say, the war becomes very bloody with murders surrounding both queens as the police force attempt to control the streets. All in all, Underbelly Razor is a gripping and sometimes disturbing tale as the public are caught in the crossfire of this vicious war. Even though the series was not set in the present, it is probably one of the better Underbelly releases due to the acting, direction and engaging story.

Recommended! 






 
 



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