Saturday, November 9, 2013


Directed By: Ian Mune 
Written By: Alan Duff (Based on His Novel) 
Cinematography By: Allen Guliford 
Editor: Michael Horton 

 Cast: Temuera Morrison, Julian Arahanga, Tony Billy, Tammy Davis, Taungaora Emile, Rena Owen, Nancy Brunning

Jake "the Muss" Heke is now fighting to save his son Sonny from a gang lifestyle after his eldest son, Nig, is killed in a gangland shootout. Jake goes through a period of hopelessness as he tries to restore his family to a functioning state after his anger and drinking (depicted in the first film) tore them apart. He still has trouble accepting the old traditional ways of the Māori people, but he begins to realise the importance of family and regrets what his former actions have done to them. Towards the end of the film, Jake does his best to reconcile with his family, even going so far as to save his son's life despite great personal risk to himself. This action, along with several others, serve to highlight Jake's changing characteristics.

I was really looking forward to seeing this film. I loved ONCE WERE WARRIORS and once I found out they were making a sequel. I couldn't wait but wait I did as I kept waiting for it to come out in America and it seemed like I never would, until one day by chance. I looked it up on netflix and low and behold, found it available. I proceeded to watch it immediately.

Now I know considering how much I liked ONCE WERE WARRIORS and the years I waited to see this sequel either would hold it up to high expectations or mellowed me and take the film on it's own merits. --I watched and found it hard to stay interested in it. The film plays like a melodrama with a revenge plot that's not that exciting or interesting.

While I enjoyed seeing Jake Heke finally come to grips with his anger issues and finally seeing how they destroyed his family and life.

The film lacks some obvious internal drama as in the end. It's that anger only now fighting for his sons life. That saves the day. I understand the symbolism, but it's kind of what makes what comes before seem hypocritical.

The revenge story and film in fact is so predictable, That you Feel nothing. Seeing the previous film isn't required to understand this film, but is recommended for quality and helps you get more insight into the dynamics of the characters and relationships that the film assumes you already know. Which allows it to cut some corners. That would help deepen the film for newcomers to this saga.

It's that predictability that made sitting through this so difficult, but I wanted to see how it ends. I will admit I didn't understand the exact reasoning for each characters motivation, but came clear through actions.

The last film opened up a certain culture while reveling in it's urbanization. This film Is straight forward. No randomness just drab, could have been a story told anywhere with anyone. Which is why it makes this film disappointing. There doesn't really seem to be anything special about it.

Coming from new Zealand, which other then Peter Jackson at the time we never really see too much cinema from at least not too many original productions. Which has changed over the years.

It's also the last I really saw of Rena Owen and Temura Morrison both of whom I hoped to see in more films after ONCE WERE WARRIORS. They have he look and talent of Character actors. Temuera Morrison could have made a career as heavy, villian or right hand man. A New Zealand Danny Trejo. He has the talent and the body to do more.

It's a shame he only got 2 starring roles. One good film then this where he is supposed to change his ways but we never really see him change them. In the first film His violence while Unbearable paid off a little in the end, but was used for a better understanding of the character and story.

Wait for cable of ever only loft people who must see what happens to the characters of the first film. Trust me it's better in your imagination.

 Grade: C

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