Urban Cinefile
"How seriously can you take a movie that has a rubber poop monster in it? "  -Kevin Smith on his film, Dogma
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday July 21, 2018 

Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE



Two medical students Brad, Gregor (Matt Day, Jason Barry) find themselves unable to repay loan shark Roy Rogers' (Chris Haywood) outstanding sum. But when they accidentally hear of opportunity for using their trainee scalpels to redistribute human resources (er… organs) from the less needy to the ill, they rationalise their way through some dubious dealings, incisions and operations on the run. But in doing so, they run foul of the small corrupt team of para-medics who are in the same business and don't like their turf being crowded.

"Black, quirky and very funny, Muggers is an unpredictable ride on the edge. It's original, imaginative and entertaining, as we enter the world of two likeable, roguish medical students. Their dream of graduation is a Volvo, a busty receptionist and golf. The reality is a cold, stark, messy hovel, where the floor shakes from the neighbour's parties and the sirens of cars wail as the lights fuse. And without enough money to pay the rent or buy the books, the enterprising students discover that the redistribution of human resources is like surgical socialism. Matt Day and Jason Barry are terrific and complement each other as they adventure on the grey side of morality; this is Day's best role since Kiss or Kill. His good looks are amply shown off, and girls may well drool at his enviable long, dark lashes! The characters are delightful – Chris Haywood, fun as a caricature gangster cowboy, complete with hat and country & western music; Caroline Gillmer is entertaining as the nurse with questionable values; but Simon Bossell is disappointing in a rather mannered performance. The plot goes through a bit of a dip in the middle, but does pick up again, before the Lock Stock & Two Smoking Barrels-like resolution to one plot line. There are some lovely moments, as the two protagonists exchange whinges as they lie in a sorry double bed, rugged up in holey gloves, and woollies with a blonde curly-wigged blow-up doll with nothing but a bemused expression between them. The party scene is another one that will stay with you for a long time. Finding the right balance when dealing with a serious topic such as pilfering human organs is no mean task, and here, the balance of humour and irreverence is just right. The very black ending may raise a few eyebrows and offend some, but if you're like me, you'll laugh at the very thought of it. Don't be a mug, catch it."
Louise Keller

"Muggers begins with an attention grabbing scene and a terrific opening titles sequence, which uses digital technology to exciting effect, with live action and graphics in startling collusion. . .and collision. Dean Murphy takes us on an equally bravura journey on a precipice road of black comedy, often skirting perilously close to bad taste comedy. He manages to keep the blackest moments funny enough to avoid slipping into lower gear (although the two final shots suggest he wanted to take the risk). Robert Taylor's fast and funny script (after several different drafts over some years) is well served by the energy of Murphy's direction and by his top cast, with Jason Barry and Matt Day making a terrific team of opposites who are nonetheless friends - and accomplices in the desperate remedy they find for their dangerously low funds. Chris Haywood is reliably colourful as the loan shark and sleaze bag who wants his loan back, and the often larger than life situations are handled with flair and a sense of adventure that makes the film edgy and hilarious all at once. Other than a slump in the middle, the film sustains its humour and energy throughout; Muggers will have you gasping with disgust while howling with laughter: it's a splutter movie."
Andrew L. Urban

"The production notes tell us that producers, Nigel Odell and David Redman spent 4½ years working on this film from the time they received the script to the beginning of shooting. Considering that Muggers would have reached its 'use by' date at some point in the seventies, this was a serious waste of their time. This is Australian comedy at its worst. It harks back to the Alvin Purple days when caricature was character and closeups of bouncing breasts were the funniest thing this side of the Leyland P76. Screenwriter Robert Taylor has started with the potentially funny premise of people getting mugged then waking up to find a vital organ has been stolen. Somewhere during the film's development time any chance for a cohesive comedy has been lost. It may be that it was just one amusing idea, or that too many script editors tinkered with it along the way or director Dean Murphy totally lacks understanding of genre. It's difficult to pinpoint. What is clear though is that this film has no idea what it wants to be. Is it a black comedy? Too many warm fuzzies for that. Is it a cartoon? Too many real characters for that. Is it a warm comedy about the honest poor struggling against the evil rich? Too much ham for that. Is it funny? No."
Lee Gough

Email this article

Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 1
Mixed: 0

Read the transcript of Andrew L. Urban's live chat with


See Andrew L. Urban's interview with




CAST: Matt Day, Jason Barry, Petra Yared, Simon Bossell, Marshall Napier, Rod Mullinar, Chris Haywood, Caroline Gillmer, Anthony Morgan, Nicola Charles, Frank Gallacher.

DIRECTOR: Dean Murphy

PRODUCERS: Nigel Odell, David Redman

SCRIPT: Robert Taylor


EDITOR: Peter Carrodus

MUSIC: Frank Strangio


RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes




VIDEO RELEASE DATE: November 29, 2000

© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2018