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The Dead Lands

Action . Adventure

Hongi, a Maori chieftain’s teenage son, must avenge his father’s murder in order to bring peace and honour to the souls of his loved ones after his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery. Vastly outnumbered by a band of villains led by Wirepa, Hongi’s only hope is to pass through the feared and forbidden “Dead Lands” and forge an uneasy alliance with a mysterious warrior, a ruthless fighter who has ruled the area for years.

Actors: James Rolleston , Lawrence Makoare , Te Kohe Tuhaka , Xavier Horan , Rena Owen
Directors: Toa Fraser
Release: 2014-10-30
More Info:
  • Damon Wise

    Neatly balances a folkloric coming-of-age tale with violent action thrills.

    Empire Full Review
  • Deborah Young

    It’s a remarkable film experience in several ways.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    Once you get past an awkward and artificial beginning and roll with the movie’s crazy rhythm, The Dead Lands is also a blast, and one that delivers an unexpected emotional wallop along with gore, thrills and spectacular scenery. Full Review
  • Bilge Ebiri

    Most of The Dead Lands, in fact, adheres to a fairly simple action film template. But the dynamic between the characters works because Fraser keeps it tough.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Dennis Harvey

    While the primal you-killed-my-family-now-I-kill-you story smacks of old Westerns (and newer Liam Neeson movies), the pic rises somewhat above formula due in large part to its being acted out in this particular historic cultural context. Depictions of pre-colonialist Maori life are rare enough onscreen, let alone in this kind of muscular genre effort.

    Variety Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    An unblinkingly fierce and bloody tale of slaughter and revenge.

    Movie Nation Full Review
  • Jordan Hoffman

    National Geographic meets the WWE in this brutal, brawling revenge tale set in pre-Colonial New Zealand, mixing insight into indigenous Maori culture with barked dialogue and vicious arterial sprays, making for a simple but exciting adventure.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • Noel Murray

    It’s a mash-up of familiar genre elements—too familiar, frankly—given a welcome sense of scope and shading by the location.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Ignatiy Vishnevetsky

    The problem with this kind of universal narrative is that, like the cult of the golden ratio, it emphasizes formulas at the expense of those expressive qualities that actually make art and entertainment.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Simon Abrams

    The Dead Lands doesn't add up to much, but it is always on the verge of becoming more than just a bed time story for guys that wish "Braveheart" had a biceps-kissing baby with "Ong Bak." Full Review
  • Nicolas Rapold

    As it dives into this infrequently depicted culture, Mr. Fraser’s film is caught shuttling uneasily between speeches and action.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Aaron Hillis

    The film is undeniably elevated by its exotic milieu. It's a shame, then, that it's stuck with such a familiar coming-of-age call to adventure.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Martin Tsai

    The only aspects of the tale that seem uniquely Maori are the action sequences featuring the martial art of mau rakau. Aside from intermittent dream sequences in which Hongi communicates with his late grandmother (Rena Owen), the storytelling is Westernized.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Carson Lund

    A phony collection of storytelling clichés held under the banner of archetype and lent a modicum of weight by the splendor of the landscape.

    Slant Magazine Full Review