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DEAD MINE (BLU-RAY)
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Reviewed by: Andre Manseau

Directed by: Steven Sheil

Starring:
Les Loveday
Ario Bayu
Sam Hazeldine

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A treasure hunter assembles a team to venture deep into an Indonesian jungle to search for lost gold become trapped in a mine that was used by the Japanese back in WWII...and they aren't alone.
Is it good movie?
About half an hour into the movie, I had the feeling I'd seen this movie before.  If you've seen 2007's Outpost (though the stylistic comparisons don't end there- you can catch whispers of Night of the Living Dead, Aliens and more recently, the Mist within this one), this movie's story is quite similar with the mercenaries trapped in a bunker with crazy WWII experiments.  The similarities don't end there as the movie is pretty formula up until the big reveal in the third act which I thought had an interesting twist but led up to a weak ending.

The lead character, jerky mission leader Warren Price (Les Loveday) is more or less a selfish jerk, and he's got an equally annoying self-centered girlfriend (Carmen Soo). Of course, his "historical guide" (Miki Mizuno) has deep, dark secrets about the mine. The characters are just too thin to really enjoy- you have the Captain (Ario Bayu) who's obsessed with getting out (not the treasure), the captain's strong and tough right-hand man (Bang Tigor), a violent ex-military type (Sam Hazeldine) and a couple of heavies to balance thigns out (Mike Lewis and Joe Taslim). Performances from the main actors are average with wooden dialogue which didn't help liven up the movie. It's just so lame and familiar (the out of his element despicable American, the warrior type, it's all stuff you've seen before) that the whole experience comes off as unquestionably shallow. There's just nothing to our characters, no matter how much they try to infuse the flick with soldier/trauma stuff.

I enjoyed the balance between the lush, green jungles and the gritty, disgusting bunker.  The movie also has a moody score that works well later on when the movie picks up. The problem is that while the setting is interesting, the story about bringing dead soldiers back to fight in war has been done many times.  The only real difference here is cultural, which doesn't prevent it from following the same old familiar horror cliches. While the world is fairly typical, at least the film manages to create a decent sense of tension and general foreboding.

 While the film looks good, one gripe I have with the look is that everything is too brightly lit. The Descent-like creatures that are meant to be scary just don't look it under all those lights. They're just brutal at times, to the point where it's hard not to focus on how hilarious they can look- it's not pretty. Why couldn't they just be a bit darker?   The movie isn't overly gory but the moments it did choose to be are delightfully entertaining and one of the few redeeming moments of the movie. 

Dead Mine just isn't enough. It borrows heavily from far better films and doesn't innovate or instill a proper sense of fun, dread, interest or gore. Too bad.
Video / Audio
2.35:1, 1080p widescreen is the order of the day, with shockingly excellent visuals to boot- almost nothing to complain about here!

Audio is also surprisingly excellent, sporting a  DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that is fully featured, well mixed and has great surround balance. Excellent stuff here.
The Extras
Only thing we get here's a trailer.
Last Call
Ultimately, Dead Mine is a watchable but totally forgettable film. A cool location isn't enough to set it apart from the better films that came before it. The film is shot fairly well (and the Blu-Ray looks and sounds great!), but the characters suck, the makeup is pretty flawed, and you kind of have a good idea where things are going before they get there.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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