You may have seen murderous psychopath Mick Taylor’s darkly entertaining outings in Wolf Creek and Wolf Creek 2, but here we have his latest adventure, the TV series, produced earlier this year by original creator Greg McLean.
The series centres on the story of an American girl, Eve, who tracks the bowie knife wielding killer and his blue Ford pick-up truck across the Australian outback after he murders her family during a camping trip.
John Jarratt returns in the role of Mick Taylor. Jarrat has quite literally carved a role for himself as a horror baddie as iconic as Robert Englund did in the Nightmare on Elm Street films as far as I’m concerned. His crude jokes and characteristic Aussie chuckle kept me well and truly on the hook, even though the writing and some of the acting in the series is a bit suspect otherwise.
There’s a quirky assortment of characters, including a cop whose marriage is on the rocks, a gang of bikers/bank robbers of the Sons of Anarchy variety and a life-saving aborigine, amongst others. Whilst some of these characters are alright, a lot of the time it seems like they were just thrown into the mix quite unnecessarily, I suppose to give the story a little more mileage. Personally, I’d have been happy to see Jarratt getting more screen time devoted to his depraved bloody antics instead. What’s more, the fact that all these wacky characters keep crossing paths (or just missing each other, according to the demands of the story) whilst driving around the enormous outback of Australia seems rather ridiculous.
My biggest problem was with the heroine, played by Lucy Fry. Her back story as a recovering addict and former school athlete, whose father had taken her on that ill-fated camping trip across Australia to help her get clean, didn’t seem particularly original, and, crucially, I just didn’t buy that she’d have a hope in hell against Mick. We’re talking about a guy who whacks coppers in their own stations as if it was nothing. She could barely defend herself against a few Australian red necks, never mind Jarratt’s rampaging lunatic. The scenes where she’s mentored by the old aboriginal drifter were kind of cheesy and I just sat stony-faced during the part where she went nuts and chopped her own hair off in a fit of rage. Maybe I’m desensitized, or maybe I didn’t care because I was rooting for Mick all along. He certainly has the more interesting personality.
Sadly then, what should have been the big showdown at the end was rather an anti-climax, especially after the gruelling events of Wolf Creek 2. On the plus side, we are offered some insights into Mick’s origins and introduced to his abusive father who, we are helpfully informed, could skin a kangaroo faster than anyone in the county.
Wolf Creek the series isn’t as violent as the films, but it’s pretty violent, with plenty of shootings, stabbings and decapitations. Actually quite a lot of the violence is meted out against the local wildlife, with kangaroos and rabbits bearing the brunt of it (sorry Skippy) and, for me, this gave the show something of an exploitative edge reminiscent of the first film in particular.
Although it’s not as good as the films, it’s quite watchable and I’d recommend it. Every time the rest of the cast start to become a little bit tedious, Mick pulls up on some hapless tourists and delivers one of his classic lines, like “What the bloody hell are you two Shelia’s doin’ out here?” And you know they’ve had it.
The show looks good too, it’s beautifully filmed and well directed and the rural Australian scenery looks as spectacular as you’d expect in the background.
I read that there’s a third movie in the works, hopefully that’ll be a return to form for the franchise and give Mick someone a touch more interesting to go up against.