The Dead Lands

The Dead Lands

The Dead Lands

Māori history is brought alive in this period action-adventure based on the traditional fighting art of Mau rākau. This Māori-language film (with subtitles) is New Zealand's entry in the Oscar foreign-language category. After his tribe is slaughtered through an act of treachery, the chieftain's teenage son Hongi (James Rolleston, Boy) must avenge his father's death in order to bring honor to the souls of his loved ones.

Outnumbered by the band of villains, Hongi's only hope is to pass through the forbidden Dead Lands and forge an alliance with the mysterious "Warrior" (Lawrence Makoare, Die Another Day). From the director of No. 2 and Dean Spanley, co-stars  Rena Owen (Once Were Warriors) and former NRL player Wairangi Koopu.

2014Rating: R16, Graphic violence107 minsNew ZealandMāori with English subtitles
ActionAdventureDramaHistorical
95%
want to see

Streaming (3 Providers)

Reviews & comments

Flicks, Steve Newall

Flicks, Steve Newall

flicks

Conventional wisdom would have you think a pre-colonial Māori action movie in Te Reo would be a suicidal commercial proposition. Then again, conventional wisdom is responsible for so much dreck littering bargain bins and has never produced the patu-wielding, arse-kicking, uniquely Aotearoan action of The Dead Lands. For many Kiwis, the period setting and Māori language elements should prove a unique enough reason to stump up for a movie ticket. For others, The Dead Lands offers proof that a well-crafted, fight-filled revenge story is the type of pic least reliant on the English language to impress, which this does in spades.

4.0

captivating

A deep insight into the new Zealand native culture and belief systems, this generated plenty of interest alone. Although extremely graphic, the fight scenes were intense and we'll simulated, each strike brought shudders down the spine and appreciation that I was not part of brutal Maori history. An excellent watch!

5.0

Pretty Dead Looking

Nothing much happening here. James Rolleston was good in the lead but a part from that this film was awfully boring and even the fight scenes were a bit of a yawn fest. Don't waste your time.

2.0

More violence please

A violence filled action film similar to Utu with the common theme of revenge. The chiefs son (a young kumara) learns life the hard way so allies with the Warrior to avenge his tribesmens deaths. Didnt think I would manage English subtitles with only Te Reo spoken but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Another uniquely kiwi movie. The Warrior is the...

4.0

A great watch

This is epic. There are some problems I'd say, but all in all a really exciting action movie. Plus, it's awesome to see a pre-colonial NZ on screen - something I haven't seen before. The performances especially were fantastic - most notably Lawrence Makoare. Highly recommend.

4.0

Even ancient people should have logic

The plot really doesn't make much sense, especially the kid is kind of like a fresh potato from the beginning to the end.

3.0

Honor, arrogance, revenge, magic mushrooms and sexy witches

Honor, arrogance, revenge, magic mushrooms and sexy witches is what The Dead Lands boils down to. Regardless of the bumpy ride the director takes us on Toa Fraser did a fine job casting a few "made-for-cinema" actors such as Lawrence Makaore and George Henare. Sadly though, I felt cheated of smaller performances from Mere Boynton, Calvin Tuteao and Maria...

3.0
Variety

Variety

press

Impressive scenery and action elevate [this] tale that is nonetheless brutal to the brink of monotony.

Screen Daily

Screen Daily

press

Energetic, glossy and exciting... doesn’t shirk when it comes to offering up bone-crunching battles and blood-thirsty martial arts scenes.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

A Maori martial arts movie, a showcase for the taiaha and patu fighting skills of mau rakau.

4.0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

Toa Fraser’s dazzling action-adventure is an imaginative voyage through a time of violent emotions.

Dominion Post

Dominion Post

press

Lurid, furious, bloodthirsty fun. If you were a fan of Apocalypto... then you really need to see this.

5.0
Flicks, Steve Newall

Flicks, Steve Newall

flicks

Conventional wisdom would have you think a pre-colonial Māori action movie in Te Reo would be a suicidal commercial proposition. Then again, conventional wisdom is responsible for so much dreck littering bargain bins and has never produced the patu-wielding, arse-kicking, uniquely Aotearoan action of The Dead Lands. For many Kiwis, the period setting and Māori language elements should prove a unique enough reason to stump up for a movie ticket. For others, The Dead Lands offers proof that a well-crafted, fight-filled revenge story is the type of pic least reliant on the English language to impress, which this does in spades.

4.0
Variety

Variety

press

Impressive scenery and action elevate [this] tale that is nonetheless brutal to the brink of monotony.

Screen Daily

Screen Daily

press

Energetic, glossy and exciting... doesn’t shirk when it comes to offering up bone-crunching battles and blood-thirsty martial arts scenes.

New Zealand Herald

New Zealand Herald

press

A Maori martial arts movie, a showcase for the taiaha and patu fighting skills of mau rakau.

4.0
Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

press

Toa Fraser’s dazzling action-adventure is an imaginative voyage through a time of violent emotions.

Dominion Post

Dominion Post

press

Lurid, furious, bloodthirsty fun. If you were a fan of Apocalypto... then you really need to see this.

5.0

captivating

A deep insight into the new Zealand native culture and belief systems, this generated plenty of interest alone. Although extremely graphic, the fight scenes were intense and we'll simulated, each strike brought shudders down the spine and appreciation that I was not part of brutal Maori history. An excellent watch!

5.0

Pretty Dead Looking

Nothing much happening here. James Rolleston was good in the lead but a part from that this film was awfully boring and even the fight scenes were a bit of a yawn fest. Don't waste your time.

2.0

More violence please

A violence filled action film similar to Utu with the common theme of revenge. The chiefs son (a young kumara) learns life the hard way so allies with the Warrior to avenge his tribesmens deaths. Didnt think I would manage English subtitles with only Te Reo spoken but I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. Another uniquely kiwi movie. The Warrior is the...

4.0

A great watch

This is epic. There are some problems I'd say, but all in all a really exciting action movie. Plus, it's awesome to see a pre-colonial NZ on screen - something I haven't seen before. The performances especially were fantastic - most notably Lawrence Makoare. Highly recommend.

4.0

Even ancient people should have logic

The plot really doesn't make much sense, especially the kid is kind of like a fresh potato from the beginning to the end.

3.0

Honor, arrogance, revenge, magic mushrooms and sexy witches

Honor, arrogance, revenge, magic mushrooms and sexy witches is what The Dead Lands boils down to. Regardless of the bumpy ride the director takes us on Toa Fraser did a fine job casting a few "made-for-cinema" actors such as Lawrence Makaore and George Henare. Sadly though, I felt cheated of smaller performances from Mere Boynton, Calvin Tuteao and Maria...

3.0