Sunday, October 4, 2009

RAPA NUI (1994)

I have no idea if anything in this film is historically accurate and I really don't care cause it was a lot of fun to watch. Set in I'm guessing the late 1600's there are two groups on the island: the Long Ears and the Short Ears. The Long Ear are the royalty, priests, soldiers, etc. while the Short Ears are pretty much slaves. Jason Scott Lee plays the grandson of the Long Ear's leader and he is in love with a very hot Short Ear girl. The leader dude is old and obsessed with making statues. Even to the point that they destroy all of the islands trees and waste all of their time building statues instead of growing crops.

Anyway that's all very interesting but the main storyline is about this Short Ear guy (played by Esai Morales in a excellent performance) who's also in love with the chick that Lee is screwing. Everything - the tension between the tribes, the leadership of the island, the statues, who's gonna get the girl - all culminates in this insane race where one guy from each tribe is selected to race down the fucking cliffs then swim over to a very small island nearby and grab an egg from a bird the carry that egg all the way back to the island, up the cliffs and back to the starting point. It was very exciting!

Director/ screenwriter Kevin (ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO) Reynolds does a great job and really captures the beauty of the island to the point that is become a character all to itself. I kept thinking the entire movie how lucky these people are to live somewhere so beautiful, but yet the were bickering and fighting just like people from every other nationality. That's just human nature: to be a bunch of greedy assholes. Enough of the philosophizing, if the description sounds like something you'd be into the check it out cause I really enjoyed myself. The script could have gotten deeper into the characters and maybe explained the ending a little more, but when you get down to it this was a action film not a documentary on the history of Easter Island.

Also look out for Rena Owen in a small role as a Short Ear. If you don't remember her she played the mother in ONCE WERE WARRIORS. And if you don't blink too much you might see Cliff Curtis who also played in ONCE WERE WARRIORS.

As far as I can tell this movie has not been released yet (if ever) on DVD in America, so if you want to check it out you're gonna have to find the VHS, risk buying a Foreign Region DVD or just watch it on the Netflix Instant Streaming like I did.