Directed and co-written by Kantz
Set in a post-apocalyptic California, Keo Tanaka roams the barron land in search of a church cult who murdered his wife and kidnapped his young son. Also walking along the dusty, bone-dry desert in quest of a better life are a family and five young women. Their paths cross with Keo though nobody can stop him seeking revenge against the vicious scavenger church group.
Action-drama WASTELAND opens with the attack on Keo’s family, before fast-forwarding to 17 years later, where Keo is discovered to be alive, narrowly surviving the brutal attack. Hell-bent on taking revenge on Caine and the churchgoers, even though he knows it won’t bring back his wife, Keo hopes that his son Jacob might still be out there with the clan. However, it seems that the church cult are not the only threats in this post-apocalyptic nightmare in which everyone is trying their best to survive in.
WASTELAND is one of a series of films recently that delve into the subject of life after a cataclysmic event which changes the world beyond all recognition, leaving the human race to survive in any way it can. Most decent people would search for water and food the hard way, but those without a conscience or of a criminal mind wouldn’t mind raping and pillaging other survivors for their goods. Wasteland explores this good vs evil scenario through Keo’s revenge plot but unfortunately the storyline never gets any further than that.
Garret Sato makes for a likable protagonist in his widower character Keo Tanaka, and actually looks as though he can handle himself against the desert scavengers. For all intent and purpose, his character is to be taken seriously though the film does sometimes throw in some light-hearted relief to give the audience a bit of a chuckle. My favourite example of this is when one of the church-goers henchmen, or women should I say, starts to display some elaborate kung fu stance to which Keo replies by pulling out his pistol and shooting her in the head. Keo’s enemies, the churchgoers, are a mixture of criminals, with a huge brute wielding a spiked bat, a skinny scruff who desires the flesh of women and a gasmasked henchman just to name a few. What did strike me though was how the majority of the female cast, and Keo, had sets of sparkling, pearly white teeth whilst others around them had decaying gnashers. Surely if they’d been living without good dental hygiene for years, their teeth would be in bad shape? This really ruined scenes in which the audience were to believe this was a post-apocalyptic world, snapping the viewer into reality rather than being kept engrossed by the film’s world.
There’s very little I can say about this movie despite it featuring some great locations that reflect the post-apocalyptic scenario very well. Nothing much happens within the duration of the film besides Keo picking off various enemies with ties to the church, and bumping into a group of kick-ass women who all share the name of Lee, albeit spelt differently. Halfway through the movie, Kao picks up a young woman on his travels who’s purpose is hinted at but never fully explained by the culmination of the movie.
WASTELAND looks good with it’s sprinkle of choreographed fight scenes and it’s barron locations, but unfortunately hasn’t gpt enough to keep the viewer entertained and falls distinctly flat at the end.