‘THE DEAD LANDS’ Movie Review
The Dead Lands is a Māori-based revenge tale with a nice blend of action and thrills. It is directed by Toa Fraser and stars James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Xavier Horan, George Henare, Raukura Turei and Rena Owen.
The story follows Hongi (James Rolleston) – a Maori chieftain’s teenage son – who wants revenge after his tribe and father were slaughterd after an ancient truce is broken. Hongi wants to avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honour to the souls of his loved ones. He is forced to battle a group of villains, led by Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka). His only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden Dead Lands and forge an uneasy alliance with the mysterious Warrior (Lawrence Makoare), a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.
There were not as many fight scenes as I was expecting, but the ones featured are fairly intense with impressive choreography. The fighting style featured in The Dead Lands is based on a form of martial arts called Mau Rakau. The fight sequences can’t be considered epic because there are at most 8 people fighting at a time, but this allows for the audience to zone in on the action.
Audiences have seen the reveng storylline many times, but what sets the film apart from other films in the genre is the strong attention to cultural detail and costuming. Genre fans will love the graphic violence and fight choreography. The film is definitely worth checking out in theaters or on VOD. Watch the trailer below: