This Australian version of Deliverance was practically laughable. When I saw the beginning credits flash across the screen and it went through everyones name I thought - hey, wait a minute. The cover of the DVD said it starred Mel Gibson. Sure enough, at the end of the credits it says and introducing Mel Gibson. Introducing? Oh boy, I could already smell a turkey in the making.
Summer City is about four friends, supposedly teenagers, on one last free summer adventure. These guys are obviously well past their teen years in real life so pulling off wild teenagers was an acting feat in itself. They all load up into a family vehicle, surf boards strapped on top, and head off for the fun and sun on the Australian coast. It took me a full 20 minutes to recognize Mel Gibson, cute as a bug and lean and blonde. He spent a good deal of the movie sans shirt, thank you very much.
Anyway, one of the group, Sandy, is on the brink of marriage so I guess this is the reason for the boys last time together as single guys little outing. However, Sandy, played by John Jarratt, looked every bit of his 25 years of age - older even - and seemed out of place with the balance of this rowdy bunch. This is basically a beach movie but he is always in dress pants and button down shirt and he doesnt surf or like any part of surfing. Certainly an outcast or mis-cast character in the bunch.
But theres a reason for this.
Another member, Robbie, played by Phillipp Avalon, is apparently just along for the ride and to balance out the set of 4 guys. He neither adds or distracts from the movie. The two main characters are, naturally, Scollop, Mel Gibson, who has only one goal in life, becoming a professional surfer. He also seems to be the good guy of the group, the one that breaks up fights and calms troubled waters.
The bad guy, the snake, is Boo, played by 25 year old Steve Bisley. Boo has two goals in life - drink as much beer as possible and bed as many girls as possible. Doesnt really matter to him who they are or how old they are. Which brings us to the typical farmers daughter situation in the movie.
The guys are going to stay at a campgrounds run by a crusty old fart named Carolines Father. Guess they didnt deem it necessary to give James Elliott a real name in the movie even though his character is the meat-n-taters of the entire gig. Carolines Father is a single dad, raising a precocious young miss on his own, and really not doing it well. Hes a bit beside himself trying to figure out the ways and whims of a budding young lady, he is completely out of his element.
Finally there is Caroline, this 15 year old miss was played by Debbie Forman and this is the only movie to her credit. Debbie Forman was well past 15 years old when she made this movie both physically and mentally. Because of her performance I can understand why she was never asked to do another movie.
There ya have it, four sexual young men, a farmer and the farmers daughter. You just know something aint gonna turn out right dont ya?
Naturally Boo makes the moves on the demure Caroline, at the Saturday night dance. This causes a huge rift between the other boys, an argument ensues, and they decide to head elsewhere. In the meantime, the sexually unaware Caroline convinces herself she just might be pregnant (pardon me, but it is only the next day) and loses her mental cookies. Daddy finds out his flower lost its bud and he goes after the gang of ner-do-wells, shotgun in hand.
As the suspense builds he manages to track them down on a back country road. Apparently there is only one road in this region of Australia, how else could he find these guys when they had a good 12 hour start on him? Of course, seeing as how their car broke down, seeing as how Sandy and Boo get in a huge fight because Boo admits he has scrogged Sandys fair miss and seeing as how Scollop is crying his eyes out because they are no where near any water, certainly I can understand how Daddy is able to find them. Right.
The balance of this suspense filled movie will have to be watched by you. Clearly you will be on the edge of your seat the entire time just like I was. Well, the real reason I was on the edge of my seat was because I was trying to hear the dang thing. This DVD had the absolute worst sound quality I have ever heard, or not heard in this case. I had my television practically as loud as it would go, a bit startling when the guns started going off Ill tell you, and still I missed a lot of what was being said. Didnt really matter, the script blew chunks anyway.
There were two positives in the movie. One, you get to see a young and virile Mel Gibson, two years before he broke out as Mad Maxx, practically nude throughout the movie. The second positive was the scenery and the sunsets. Absolutely worth the entire movie, even as bad as it was. However they used those sunsets to fill up a lot of blank time on the screen and to give the movie longer play time.
The movie was directed by Christopher Fraser and written by - ta-da - Phillip Avalon, who played Robbie. Now I know why he was in the movie. It received no awards, had no soundtrack listing, and doesnt say where it was filmed. Australia obviously, but it doesnt list where in Australia. It has a run time of 83 minutes and was originally released under the title of Coast of Terror.