Title: Chopper
Rating: R
Release Date: November 2, 2001
Running Time: approximately 90 minutes
Ten-second Rundown: A small-time criminal builds himself a legend by preying on the Australian underworld - or maybe not.


  • Commentary by Director Andrew Dominik

  • Commentary by the real Mark "Chopper" Read

  • Deleted Scenes

  • "Weekend With Chopper," documentary with star Eric Bana meeting Mark "Chopper" Read

  • Theatrical trailer
  • Choice Scene:To get into solitary, Chopper has a fellow inmate slice off his ears.

    Tech Specs: Widescreen, aspect ratio 1.78:1, English Dolby DTS 5.1 surround sound, Dolby 2.0.
    Type of disc: Dual Layer Format

    Comic fandom was rocked last month by the announcement that Director Ang Lee had chosen a virtual unknown to star as Bruce Banner in the film version of The Incredible Hulk. Despite the success of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, fans worried that Australian stand-up comedian and actor Eric Bana just would not have the stones to play the tortured scientist.

    But now, thanks to Image Entertainment, American fans can see what Ang Lee sees, as Bana's first movie, Chopper, has arrived on DVD. And what an arrival it is.

    Bana plays Mark "Chopper" Read, a real-life criminal and best-selling author who has become something of a folk hero in Australia. Pretty much a tour de force for Bana, the film thinly fictionalizes key events in Chopper's criminal career.

    Beginning in a stark blue-lit prison, we meet Chopper as he tries to build his reputation by antagonizing a rival prison gang. Eventually this leads to a hit taken out on him, a contract carried out by his best friend Jimmy (Simon Lyndon). Chopper, however, proves too tough to kill. Or did it even happen? Clearly, Chopper is no reliable narrator, as keen to impress us with his myth as he is other criminals. All we do know for sure is that he has his own ears removed to prove his worth, which somehow morphs into a reputation for chopping off the ears of others.

    Upon his release into society, he proves to be no better. Acting as a snitch, ordinarily considered rather weaselly, Chopper uses his status with the police as an excuse to blackmail drug and arms dealers. The affable crook alternately dares and charms the law, to the point that they lose track of the truth, too.

    And yet the film has a palpable menace. The trick accomplished here by writer/director Andrew Dominik is to keep us from really knowing the truth. Chopper may seem to be pulling our leg, but some of the acts of violence have to have been real, though possibly unintentional. No matter the truth, the man is definitely a few bubbles short of a Foster's.

    As Chopper, Bana handles the transitions from charming to dangerous with an ease that bodes well for his turn in The Incredible Hulk, and that's what you really want to know, isn't it? He can look naïve and innocent, perfect for Banner, but easily taps into a frightening rage.

    The real power of Bana's performance doesn't come through until you watch the documentary in which he chats with the real Chopper. In the film he will disturb you, but knowing that he has captured the real spirit of Chopper makes it even more disturbingly fun.

    Then watch the film again with Chopper's own commentary. Kept as a separate track from Dominik's commentary, Chopper adds another layer to the myth-building. Where Dominik would have you understand that he has made changes to tell a better story, Chopper wants you to know "…this sort of stuff really happened," before launching into tales of his own prowess.

    Even without the interest of an actor with a career about to explode (Bana also stars in upcoming Oscar-bait Black Hawk Down), Chopper is cool surprise. Both homage to and departure from the spate of Tarantino-clones American indie cinema has produced over the last few years, it's definitely worth more than a look.

    Buy it here for $21.49.

    Derek McCaw


    Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001 by FanboyPlanet. If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
    Movies Comics Wrestling OnTV Guest Forums About Us Mystery Sites

    Click Here!