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Blu-ray Review – Once Were Warriors (1994)

Once Were Warriors, 1994.

Directed by Lee Tamahori.

Starring Rena Owen, Temuera Morrison, Mamaengaroa Kerr-Bell, Taungaroa Emile, Cliff Curtis, and Julian Arahanga.


The mother of a New Zealand Maori family struggles to keep her family together as her violent husband and wayward children seem to pull apart.

Controversial upon its original release and still packing a punch today, Once Were Warriors is a powerful film in every respect, from the performances – especially the two leads – to the emotionally-charged script through to director Lee Tamahori’s bleak vision peppered with specks of hope for its characters. Beth Heke (Rena Owen – The Last Witch Hunter) is a mother to five children and wife to Jake (Temuera Morrison – Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones), a violent alcoholic with a quick temper and quicker fists who has just lost his job and so spends most of his time down the local bar with his mates.

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