When his clan, including his wife and baby girl Néa, are massacred, Ao, a desperate Neanderthal, decides to leave the North country where he has been living for the South where he was born....
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When his clan, including his wife and baby girl Néa, are massacred, Ao, a desperate Neanderthal, decides to leave the North country where he has been living for the South where he was born. His aim is to join his twin brother, from whom he was separated when he was nine. On his long and adventurous way home, he meets Aki, a Homo sapiens woman.Written by
AO: THE LAST HUNTER is the latest in a line of prehistoric epics. These films seemed to originate with the cheesy back-projected movies of the 1940s before Hammer had a mini resurgence of them in the 1960s with ONE MILLION YEARS B.C. and its follow-ups. They were back in the 1980s with the likes of the influential QUEST FOR FIRE, but since then the genre has been a little quiet.
This film is French and unsurprisingly for the French it plays out as a love story for the most part. The hero is a wandering Neanderthal hunter who meets up with a woman who just so happens to be a Homo Sapien. The two fall in love, but not before the surprisingly modern plot elements play out. And that's the main problem with AO: it feels very modern in places, particularly with a modern-language voice over narration which really feels out of place, and the usual gender issues which would play out on a modern romantic comedy.
As a film, this does have a fair few strengths. The visual look is strong with fine cinematography bringing to life the snowbound terrain. The effects are strong and the look of the Neanderthals is an authentic one. There are some truly exciting moments, like the polar bear fight. It's so unfortunate, then, that most of the running time is wasted with romantic nonsense, when the director had the change to make something so much more profound.
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