Ripping off big budget American films was a common practice for Italian filmmakers in the seventies and eighties with the likes of The Exorcist, Dirty Harry and Jaws being 'reinvented' several times by a host of names, which often included Bruno Mattei. By 2003, cheap exploitation cinema had become less popular in Italy; but Bruno Mattei was still making movies and apparently he didn't see any reason to stop this often practiced tradition of ripping off American movies, and saw fit to reinvent John McTiernan's Predator and splice it together with another popular American export, the cannibal movie, and what we have as the result is this film. Land of Death takes place, as you would expect, in the Amazon jungle and as was the case with Predator; we focus on a group of soldiers that have to go into the jungle on a rescue mission. They have to rescue a general's daughter who has been kidnapped by a cannibal tribe who, fascinated by her blonde hair, believe her to be some sort of goddess.
Most of the Italian rip-offs released during the seventies and eighties were a bit more subtle than this film. The order of the day was usually to rip a film off thematically and basically spin a new story around the idea used in the successful American film. But Mattei apparently couldn't be bothered to go through the time consuming process of thinking up an idea and writing a script; so what we get instead is just a re-run of Predator. And I mean that literally; whole lines of dialogue are taken, scenes are stolen almost frame for frame, the characters are the same etc. In fact if it wasn't for the fact that there is no alien, this could be a frame for frame remake of Predator (although it's more along the same lines as the fan made version of Indiana Jones quality-wise than Gus Van Sant's Psycho!). Basically, if you've seen Predator, you will know exactly what to expect here and to be honest there's not much point watching unless you're only there to see just how badly McTiernan's film has been stolen from. Mattei does at least give us some gore...but to be honest, this is shameful stuff.
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