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Smash Palace / Sleeping Dogs (Roger Donaldson Collection) (1982)

Sam Neill , Nevan Rowe , Roger Donaldson  |  NR |  DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Sam Neill, Nevan Rowe, Ian Mune, Warren Oates, Ian Watkin
  • Directors: Roger Donaldson
  • Writers: Ian Mune, Roger Donaldson, Arthur Baysting, Bruno Lawrence, Christian K. Stead
  • Producers: Larry Parr
  • Format: Color, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: June 8, 2004
  • Run Time: 213 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B0001BKBH0
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #238,035 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Smash Palace / Sleeping Dogs (Roger Donaldson Collection)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Sleeping Dogs:

As the cities of New Zealand are torn apart by civil anarchy and economic chaos, apolitical family man Smith (Sam Neill of "Jurassic Park") flees his shattered marriage to live alone in the country. When he is falsely accused of being a saboteur, Smith becomes an unwitting pawn in a desperate battle between guerilla resistance fighters and the ruthless armies of the right wing government. The legendary Warren Oates ("The Wild Bunch") co-stars in this tense thriller produced and directed by Roger Donaldson. "Sleeping Dogs" made history as the first New Zealand feature ever shown in American theaters.

Smash Palace:

Bruno Lawrence ("The Quiet Earth") delivers an unforgettable performance as Al Shaw, a former pro racer who now operates a backcountry auto salvage yard with his unhappy wife and their beloved daughter. When Al's wife leaves him, taking their daughter and beginning an affair with his best friend, Al's frustration and rage explode in a series of shocking actions that may destroy them all. Roger Donaldson produced, directed and co-wrote this startling New Zealand drama that became and acclaimed international hit and launched his award-winning American career.

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smash Palace-Amazing Performances May 17, 2004
I'm really glad Smash Palace is FINALLY going to be released on DVD. It's an amazing film. Shot in New Zealand, and released in 1981 (that long ago?), I remember it well.
Bruno Lawrence plays Al Shaw, a rather eccentric fellow who is a very difficult person to like. He is abusive to his wife (pointedly in a difficult-to-watch scene where he has a 'romantic interlude' with his wife, who then leaves him), obsessed with race cars, and a peculiar friend to a few selected souls, who don't always return the favor. He certainly has problems with authority figures. On the other hand, he loves his daughter terribly (in the positive sense of the word). After his wife leaves him, he makes the decision to re-unite with her, and that decision makes his whole world teeter on the brink of complete and utter disaster. The tension is very high for the entire film. You're just waiting for him to self-destruct. The only question is, who is he going to take with him?
Personally, I don't blame his wife for leaving him, as he is quite difficult to live with (though she gives him some good reasons for his hostility). And for his best friend, well, let's just say Al's not happy with him, either.
Twenty-three years after its release, I still remember this film vividly. That's the power it has. This isn't a movie with black-and-white, good-guy/bad-guy characters, every one is more complicated than that. It is a film that is gripping and disturbing, but, as I've said, very memorable. A fine early effort from director Ronald Donaldson, who has gone on to direct 'Cocktail', 'White Sands', and last year's 'The Recruit'.
Personally, I liked this film better than any of those very good efforts.
Highly recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful June 1, 2006
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
I didn't care too much for Sleeping Dogs, which I found to be too confusing for my tastes, but I loved Smash Palace. I remember seeing it while on vacation in New Zealand, and when it came out on DVD, I jumped at buying it. Bruno Lawrence delivers an incredible performance as Al Shaw. Smash Palace is a junkyard filled with run-down and wrecked card and is owned by Al and his wife Jacqui. It also serves as one of Al's two main obsessions. The other is with building a race car. Jacqui craves attention;Unfortunately, Al pays more attention to his obsessions then he does to her, which leads her to having an affair with his best friend Ray. When Al finds out, he reverts to drastic action which includes kidnapping their young daughter and heading for the hills. This movie has perhaps the most unforgettable final scene you'll ever see in a movie. I loved it and recommend it strongly.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More collectible than watchable? December 10, 2004
This unique "two-fer" release by Anchor Bay, billed as (what we assume to be) the "first" volume of the "Roger Donaldson Collection" leaves the thinking reviewer a bit stuck. Do I review each film seperately, or do I trot out a smarty-pants "auteur" essay about the director? Frankly, it was finally spotting "Smash Palace" on DVD that got me excited about this release. The co-feature, "Sleeping Dogs" (a speculative political thriller about what might happen if New Zealand suddenly fell under violently oppressive, Stalin-like government control-kind of a poor-man's version of "Z") was obscure even to a film geek like yours truly; and as it turns out, I haven't been missing anything all these years. Sloppily directed, with more than its share of glaring plot holes, "Sleeping Dogs" nonetheless does have some historical signifigance; it was the debut film for both director Donaldson and star Sam Neill. It was also the first New Zealand film to ever be distributed in the U.S. The "Sleeping Dogs" featurette, when seen as an oral history of the struggling birth of the NZ film industry, is actually much more compelling than the film itself! "Smash Palace" is the more accomplished and critically acclaimed of the two films on this collection. Reminiscent of "Shoot The Moon", it deals with the story of a disintegrating marriage between an eccentric race car driver/auto salvage yard owner and his neglected wife. Bruno Lawrence gives a memorably edgy performance as the cuckholded husband. It is unfortunate that Roger Donaldson never really evolved much after the promise of "Smash Palace", he's gone on to give us such middling, by-the-numbers fare as "Cocktail", "No Way Out" and most recently, "The Recruit". "****" for "Smash Palace" and "**" for "Sleeping Dogs". Both films have excellent transfers, decent sound and director/cast commentary. Mostly of interest to film buff/collectors.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marriage troubles in New Zealand November 20, 2005
By Bomojaz
Format:VHS Tape
This is an intriguing film about a marriage break-up and the resulting separation of a father from his daughter, which makes him a little crazy. Al Shaw (played by Bruno Lawrence) runs an auto junkyard left to him by his father and also does Formula 1 racing on the side - cars are his whole life. His wife (Anna Jemison) is fed up with her life and her husband's inattentiveness and decides to leave him.

But what Lawrence really can't bear is when Jemison takes their 7-year-old daughter with her: he ends up kidnapping her which prompts a widespread manhunt. But the girl gets sick and he brings her home. Neither husband nor wife is right or wrong in terms of their motivation (both are a little of each); their marriage has just failed. It's Lawrence's actions after being separated from his daughter that's the focus of the movie, and seeing him become more and more desperate is moving, frightening, and poignant - even humorous (the great ending on the railroad tracks is a classic). The script is taut and the acting, especially, Lawrence, is excellent. The movie grabs us by the shirt front and won't let go until it's over. Very well done.
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