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Film / Romper Stomper

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A 1992 film written and directed by Geoffrey Wright, Romper Stomper is an interesting look at the Neo-Nazi skinhead culture of Australia.

Hando (Russell Crowe) and Davey (Daniel Pollock) are best friends, having a great time hanging with their Neo-Nazi pals and beating up on members of the local Vietnamese population. Things go awry when they meet Gabrielle (Jacqueline McKenzie), a junkie with a dark past. The woman drives a wedge between the two men that is only deepened when their gang dissolves, leading to a final confrontation.

A sequel series of the same name aired in 2018 on Stan, with Dan Wyllie, Jacqueline McKenzie and John Brumpton reprising their roles.

Not to be confused with Romper Room.

The film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Hero: Davey and Gabrielle, a neo-Nazi and a junkie, are our protagonists.
  • Bar Brawl: The skinheads corner a few Vietnamese boys in a bar and beat up on them, but one of them escapes and summons reinforcements. An entire factory of Vietnamese workers empties out and chases the skinheads across the city.
  • Boom, Headshot!: During the police raid on the neo-Nazi base, one of the police shoots Bubs in the head, killing him instantly.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Sonny gives this to the camera, in the form of a memorable Precision F-Strike, at the beginning of the movie.
  • Comforting Comforter: A rare villainous example has Hando draping blankets over his passed-out skinhead friends. This scene emphasizes the brotherhood of the skinheads and the difficulty that Davey will have turning his back on them.
  • The Dragon: Davey is the quiet and reserved second-in-command of Hando's gang.
  • Humiliation Conga: The skinheads undergo it, thinking that they're superior to the Vietnamese. Then they get chased across the city, several of them are killed, and the rest are arrested.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: A bunch of asshole skinheads piss off Vietnamese factory workers and suffer for it.
  • A Lighter Shade of Black: Davey isn't quite as bad as Hando and the rest of the skinheads, which keeps him from being a straight Villain Protagonist.
  • Love Triangle: Gabrielle desires and is desired by best friends Hando and Davey.
  • The Moral Substitute: The director wanted to show the skinheads listening to racist music, but he didn't want to give exposure and royalties to the real thing, so he hired politically acceptable local bands to create original racist rock to be played during the film. In this case it is the artists, rather than the art, who are the moral substitute.
  • Rape as Backstory: Gabrielle was molested by her father, who still pursues her.
  • Ripped from the Headlines: The movie was based on several racial incidents in the 80s and early 90s, but most prominently on the history of the Neo-Nazi Dane Sweetman, who murdered his friend David Noble and cut off his leg with an axe.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Outnumbered and overwhelmed by the Vietnamese factory workers, the skinheads escape their rented warehouse and take shelter in a different one.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: The skinhead gang is very explicitly of the Neo-Nazi persuasion.
  • Zerg Rush: Just about every Vietnamese man in Footscray swarms the skinhead gang, overwhelming them and sending them scurrying across the entire city as they're picked off one by one.