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'The Dead Lands' [Blu ray]
(James Rolleston, Lawrence Makoare, et al / Blu ray / NR / 2015 / Magnolia Home Entertainment)

Overview: After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, the teenage son of a slain Maori chieftain looks to avenge his father's murder and bring peace and honor to the souls of his loved ones.

Blu ray Verdict: As you watch this new film, just remember that for their roles in 'The Dead Lands,' ALL the principle actors underwent a six week training boot camp prior to filming to get them into shape! And it shows, trust me, because there isn't one character/person that stands out to be anything short of incredibly "fit" in this high octane film.

So, basically, if you have ever seen the Haka performed by the All Blacks, and wondered what these guys would do to their enemies without the limitations of Rugby rules, then all your questions will be answered here in 'The Dead Lands'! The plot is a Kung-Fu style revenge tale. A young chief's son vows revenge for some tribal treachery, and hooks up with a mystical, wiser warrior, to take out a small army of baddies.

Action movie aficionados will be pleased to see some authentic Maori weapons and fighting choreography, instead of the typical blade weapons and the Asian martial arts we see in countless movies these days. The acting is fascinating because you are basically watching actors represent their own culture from an earlier era; unlike let's say, having a Scottish man portray an ancient Greek warrior in a film.

The authentic locations add to the overall realistic effect as well. I'm sure there are artistic liberties taken with the historical accuracy, but nothing as crazy as the damn '300' franchise! The directing is a bit frantic, with quick cuts and lots of camera movements during fight scenes, but that seems to be the visual style for action movies these days. Overall, this film is a fascinating look at a culture that is completely exotic to the rest of the world because of vast geographical distance and centuries of colonial influence. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:85.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:

The Making of The Dead Lands
Behind The scenes Comparisons
Exploring The Dead Lands: Creating A Traditional Maori World
Theatrical Premiere Q&A
Interview with James Cameron

Blu ray Purchase Link