Release date: Available on Blu-ray/DVD May 28, 2013; also available on OnDemand
Grade: D (1/5 stars)
“Dead Mine” plays like “Seinfeld,” minus the sharp writing and laughs. Well, OK, there are some laughs, but they’re unintentional. But this 87-minute film results in nothing. It’s a movie about nothing. Sure, there’s somewhat of a plot, but do the writers even try to expand on it? Nope.
The only two things that could have made the studio green-light this movie was the fact that it had something to do with Yamashita’s gold, and the fact that Joe Taslim (“The Raid: Redemption”) is in it and is also the villain in “Fast & Furious 6,” which just opened this past Friday. It doesn’t matter if the “Fast & Furious” fans don’t know a single thing about Yamashita’s gold, or a single thing about this movie. Just slap on the fact that the one guy from “The Raid: Redemption” and “Fast & Furious 6” has a role in it – a very minor one at that – and release it after all the “Fast & Furious” fans make the latest entry a box office hit. Once they scroll past this at Best Buy, and it’s advertised that Taslim is also in this movie, they’ll buy it without even reading the back of the cover. Hopefully, the fans are smarter than the producers think, and they’ll just keep walking.
Aside from those two details, one has to wonder if director Steven Sheil literally went to the producers and said, “I want to make a movie about nothing. These people are going after Yamashita’s gold, but, in all honesty, nothing’s going to really happen.”
Shame on HBO for putting its name on something so dopey. If it was the SyFy channel, as they are now known, then it would be understandable. But, HBO? Really?
At least “Seinfeld” was clever with being about nothing. The same can’t be said about “Dead Mine,” an action-horror film with zero action and zero scares. It’s a sluggish borefest about exploration, but it fails to explore the characters involved, and why all of them are there. A few have their reasons, but the others are just there and we don’t know why. Greed is a possibility, or the fact that they want to be on a treasure hunt for treasure hunting’s sake. We’ll never know. The only memorable character is the one who looks like a mercenary from “Jersey Shore,” and that’s because he looks like a mercenary from “Jersey Shore.” But that’s not really a positive note; it’s just the only way to describe him.
Zombie samurai warriors spring to life, and they do nothing to give the film even the slightest boost of energy. They kill a few people with a quick swing of the sword, but they aren’t scary looking, and all the viewer can do is shrug, yawn, and still wait for something intriguing to happen. Kudos to the special effects department for not making them CGI, but making them look like rejected designs for a 1930s horror film was not a good alternative. It also doesn’t help that the one who tries to help the crew looks like he had way too much to drink before shooting. And yet, no one thought it would be a good idea to get the poor guy a pizza and some Pepto Bismol before the director shouted, “Action!”