In the 90s Eric Bana was known as a comedian. His public break had been roles on Full Frontal and a great turn as the kickboxing fiancee in The Castle. At this time Eric didn’t have a profile as a character actor. When word began to spread he was to play infamous, charismatic, gangster, Mark “Chopper” Read, no one expected the film to become one of Australia’s most popular of all time.
After the very cool intro, we’re taken back in time to 1979, where we see Chopper and his crew, are in a verbal war with the Painters and Dockers. After several arguments, we see the animal that is Chopper, unleashed as he frantically stabs the shit out of Keithy George. After the brutal stabbing attack, he makes it clear he’s the Big Boy in ‘H-Division’ of Pentridge. This is six minutes in and the scene finishes with one of the many classic quotes,
“Whinge, whinge, f#cking whinge!”
The next scene of importance is when one of the “screws” is telling Chopper there is a bounty on his head and that anyone could go after him for the money. This leads to another classic scene of Chopper displaying how much of a tough bastard he is, when one of his crew members, ol’ Jimmy turns on him, stabbing him seven times before Chopper grabs him by the throat and slams him against the wall stopping him. As if that isn’t a true Big Boy characteristic.
Everyone knows Chopper famously had his ears chopped off in order to get out of H-Division. The scene depicting this is extremely graphic yet somehow prevents us from turning away. Who could forget the guy throwing Chopper’s ear away in disgust? Bloody brilliant!!!
Personally though, my favorite scene in the film is when Chopper visits Neville Bartos at his home in order to get some “moolah”. Vince Colosimo plays the part brilliantly! Everyone is well aware of some of the very memorable lines from this scene. Such as,
“There’s no cash here. Here there’s no cash, alright? Cash no, Robbo?”
An Australian classic with some of the quotable lines ever!
– “I’m just a bloody normal bloke. A normal bloke who likes a bit of torture.”
– “Why would I shoot a bloke BANG, then drive him to the bloody car and wizz him off to the hospital at a hundred miles an hour? It defeats the purpose of having shot him in the first place.”
– “No, I did not drive him to the hospital! Do I look like Mother Teresa to you?”
– “He couldn’t knock the fluff off a cappuccino.”
– “Look. The bloke’s been me best mate since 1975. We’ve had our fallouts from time to time, it’s no big deal. Y’know, it’s like… if ya mum stabs ya, whaddya do? Y-ya don’t get upset. Ya don’t get angry, ya go, “Shit, mum’s stabbed me, I better get off to the hospital.”
One of most infamous characters ever.
Sadly the Big Boy passed away at the end of last year after a lengthy battle with cancer. Mark Brandon “Chopper” Read, RIP.