After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, Hongi, a Maori chieftain's teenage son, must avenge his father's murder in order to bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains, Hongi's only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious Warrior, a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.Written by
Director Toa Fraser's first name actually means "warrior" in Maori, though he is actually of Fijian descent. See more »
In reference to the previous statement about an apparent car in the back of shot, the viewer must have been seeing things. What it is is a Kereru (our native wood pigeon) that briefly and with much motion blur flies past the Warrior like a spirit form. See more »
I have a blackness that comes upon me - where even the God of War would not venture!
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THE DEAD LANDS is the Kiwi version of APOCALYPTO, there's no two ways about it. The two films are way too similar for the similarities to be mere coincidences. And as I consider APOCALYPTO to be one of the very best films ever made, this rather low budget riff can't hope to hold a candle to the calibre of the Mel Gibson movie. Even so, it turns out to be quite enjoyable as a straightforward action flick.
The story involves an upright, youthful hero whose tribe are massacred by enemies who then escape on foot across a barren and inhospitable landscape. He gives chase but can't hope to tackle them alone, so employs the services of a powerful and infamous warrior who eats the flesh of man to help him. This is where the film gets interesting: Lawrence Makoare (LORD OF THE RINGS) essays the role of the cannibal and is the only fleshed-out character in the whole thing. I love films where the bad guys are the heroes and Makoare's performance makes this film worthwhile and not JUST an APOCALYPTO rip-off.
Elsewhere, the film is heavy on the action, although not quite as grisly as you'd imagine. The good news is that the action direction is fine, with choreography allowing you to see the protagonists instead of over-editing things too much. As a whole, THE DEAD LANDS weaves a lush and vibrant-looking picture that brings to life the Maori way, and how many Maori action films do we get in cinema anyway? Watch out for Pana Hema Taylor (from TV's SPARTACUS) as one of the bad guys.
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