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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.

In 2018, a series set 25 years after the events in the film called Romper Stomper aired on the streaming service Stan. Dan Wyllie, Jacqueline McKenzie and John Brumpton reprise their original roles.

Not to be confused with the children's toy of the same name or 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.
  • 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.
  • Good People Have Good Sex: Gabrielle and Davey.
  • 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.
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  • Knife Nut: The skinheads are all very impressed by a genuine Hitler Youth knife.
  • 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 incZoidents 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.
  • 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.

The series provides examples of:

  • Age-Gap Romance: Blake is about twenty years older than his wife Zoe.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Petra, a pale-skinned brunette who's a leader of Antifasc, is more reserved than most of them and also cool-headed in contrast.
  • Association Fallacy: Leila is told by Jago that, due to being a Muslim, she is responsible herself for any Islamic terrorism in Australia as moderates give them "cover".
  • Bomb Throwing Anarchist: Antifasc believe in direct action to fight fascism, mostly by beating up far-rightists.
  • Child by Rape: Kane turns out to be the result of his mother being raped by her father.
  • Downer Ending: The show ends with a huge one. Magoo blows himself up before anybody can stop him, murdering or wounding many people, including several main characters (though their exact fates are unknown). Zoe murders Marco as well, and Gabe leaves Kane behind with them remaining estranged.
  • Evil Mentor: Vic/Cackles is revealed to have inducted Kane into Neo-Nazism.
  • Frame-Up: Kane makes Jago's accidental death look like murder at the hands of Muslims by spray-painting Islamic slogans and symbols on his wall, adding to anarchist graffiti already there.
  • Gay Conservative: Jago is a right-wing TV show host who's revealed as being gay. Some of his right-wing allies don't like it, but they tolerate him as he's useful.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Blake is quite homophobic and thus dislikes Jago, a right-wing gay TV host. He tolerates him though as he's an ally but makes it clear that he thinks homosexuality is something that should be "purified" from white Australians in the future.
  • Hypocrite: Magoo is a violent white supremacist. He has a daughter who's half East Asian herself though (and thus obviously also had a relationship with a woman of that background). Magoo clearly loves her, though he appears to see no conflict in this given his racism.
  • Killed Offscreen: Gabe mentions that all of the original gang died, aside from Cackles and Magoo, since the film's events.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: Kane kills Blake by shoving him into a skip, making it look like he'd just slipped and fallen.
  • Missing Mom: Gabe apparently gave Kane up for adoption, admitting she wasn't any kind of mum to him (though she does care for him and try to steer him away from Neo-Nazism). He resents Gabe for this into the present.
  • Name of Cain: Zoe, who's a Christian, notes Kane's name, and says it's "wicked" (though she finds him appealing). Kane is a Neo-Nazi thug himself.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Petra realizes something is wrong when Kane coolly stares down the Antifasc members who've come to attack the Patriot Blue members on the peer. She's right, as he learned of the plan and many more Patriot Blue come off a nearby bus to attack Antifasc.
    • Later the Antifasc have a collective moment like this after Jago accidentally dies just by slipping on his own floor while they're in his house trashing the place, thinking they'd be blamed.
  • Patricide: Gabe kills her father. He raped her in the past.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Antifasc have this view with regards to far-rightists, assaulting them in hopes of destroying their whole movement.
  • Politically Motivated Teacher: McKew is a professor at the university which the Antifasc members attend (he's involved with the group as well). His lectures from what's seen don't even try to be neutral, but denounce the US and Israel for imperialism.
  • Propaganda Machine: No Quarter is a right-wing TV program which constantly advocates for an anti-immigration and Islamophobic view with slanted, biased means covered by false "balance" to lure opponents in, as the host Jago Zoric is far from a neutral host or moderator when they get there for a debate. He gives cover to some even more openly far-right groups, who he is shown as in bed with (and they use violence).
  • Straight Gay: Jago is a right-wing TV host with no signs that he's gay before being identified as such.
  • Suicide Attack: In the finale, Magoo, who's dying of cancer, blows himself up to kill a federal MP. Numerous people nearby in the vicinity are killed or wounded as well.
  • Vigilante Man:
    • Antifasc are self-appointed anti-fascist vigilante anarchists who attack far-rightists wherever they find them.
    • Patriot Blue set up night patrols to ostensibly be this, though a lot of their activities are simply beating up any people of color they run into.
  • Your Cheating Heart:
    • Zoe is married to Blake, but also has sex with Kane.
    • Marco is married, though having an affair with Gabe.


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