BARE BONES: GREAT WHITE (2021)

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GREAT WHITE (2021)

Australian shark flick finds a couple of seaplane owners, Kaz (Katrina Bowden) and her boyfriend Charlie (Aaron Jakubenko), taking another couple, Michelle (Kimie Tsukakoshi) and her husband Joji (Tim Kano) on a tour of an area known as Hell’s Reef. Aptly named, as a pair of large great white sharks prowl the waters. While investigating the origins of a body they’ve found, an earlier meal of said sharks, the two couples and their cook Benny (Te Kohe Tuhaka) soon find themselves stranded in a lifeboat, miles from land and now prey to the predatory duo.

Routine shark movie is competently directed by Martin Wilson from a script by Michael Boughen. It’s run of the mill as these flicks go, with nothing new to offer, though what it does present is entertaining enough for those who like everything shark. There is some moderate bloodshed, as these flicks go and the characters are fairly stereotypical, as is the soap opera level drama between them—did Kaz really need to announce she’s pregnant before their perilous adventure begins? There is some sub-par CGI to bring the effectiveness down a few notches, but the last act is fairly intense and suspenseful, even if we have to sit through some ho-hum shark melodrama to get there. The cast are al fine, with Bowden being a solid heroine, and the Australian locations are nice to look at and a bit refreshing to the eye.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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BARE BONES: THE DEAD LANDS

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THE DEAD LANDS (2014)

While I admit it was a unique twist to make a film about New Zealand’s pre-civilization Māori tribes and film it entirely in their language, The Dead Lands ultimately is a routine revenge thriller when all is said and done. Written by Glenn Standring and well directed by Toa Fraser, the film follows the betrayal and slaughter of a Māori tribe by the ambitious and power-hungry Wirepa (Te Kohe Tuhaka) and his warriors. Only young Hongi (James Rolleston) and a few tribeswomen survive and the boy seeks to avenge his people by enlisting the help of a “monster” that inhabits the forbidden “Dead Lands”, where no tribes live or dare venture. Hongi finds this “demon” is actually a fierce cannibalistic warrior (Lawrence Makoare) and as the arrogant Wirepa is cutting through the warrior’s domain to save time, he agrees to help Hongi exact a bloody revenge. There certainly is a lot of bloody action, that involves the Māori’s unique weaponry, such as the hand held Mere, but the film also looses it’s momentum and grinds to a halt about halfway through as characters bare their souls. Things do pick up again in the last act for a gruesome showdown between Hongi and The Warrior with Wirepa and his remaining fighters, but ultimately, you realize that, despite the Māori trappings, you’ve seen this all before. I would still recommend checking this out for it’s more unique elements and the well staged fight sequences, but after all I have heard, I can’t deny I was a bit disappointed with how familiar it all turned out to be. There is some nice cinematography of the New Zealand locations by Leon Narby and a cool electronic score by Don McGlashan to accent the film’s story, but a familiar story it is.

 -MonsterZero NJ

3 star rating

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