Recycled sleaze

Movie: Chopper

Our Rating: 2.50

For reasons unknown, highly literate auteurs (Quentin Tarantino, Oliver Stone, David Lynch, others) are repeatedly, redundantly, and ineluctably drawn to stylish tales of charismatic, violent white-trash hooligans who live only to screw, kill and quip. Add writer/director Andrew Dominik's "Chopper" to the sleaze-happy canon of Violent White Trash Cinema with its somewhat-based-on-fact tale of hyperviolent Aussie thug Mark "Chopper" Read (a Duracell-shaped Eric Bana), who ass-kicks his way from prison to vengeful crime sprees to media stardom as author of a best-selling autobiography.

("Oi kah'nt eeffen spell!" he brags.) On the plus side, "Chopper" offers an unusual trash milieu (downscale Sydney), some funny/gory set pieces (Dominik even trumps Tarantino in the ear-slicing department), and Bana's Down Under WWF charm. But its possible theme -- the eternal appeal of the quippy thug -- gets lost amid the graphic gut stabbings, wife punchings and general moral squalor, eventually devolving into pointless, sub-"Trainspotting" flash.

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