Quick-Thoughts: Geoff Murphy’s Utu (1983)

It’s kind of insane how this movie got shelved for 30 years in consideration of just how commercial it is; from its vigorously shot action-packed sequences to its appealing revenge premise and “Revenant” vibes, yet it does distance itself from its time period’s usual vengeance gimmick by having revenge motives cause other characters’ own revenge motives as well, therefore proclaiming war as simply a cycle of wrongdoers. Utu’s new redux cut nonetheless felt almost too fast paced, causing many of its relational or group dynamics to emerge in as if they were either spontaneously dropped out of thin-air or abruptly rushed over, and the traditionalistic western-styled hunt on hunt plot made the film somewhat forgettable for me aside from recalling its intentional absence of having clear protagonists to side with, although, Sergio Leone Westerns are also known for doing that. 

Geoff Murphy would later go on though to work as second director on the set of The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003) movies, so his knack for putting together neat battle sequences certainly came to reach a greater potential. 

Verdict: C+

“Utu” is currently not available to stream online.

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