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Review: AO - The Last Hunter

Posted by Jeff the Fridge from Cardiff - Published on 27/07/2012 at 13:10
0 comments » - Tagged as Movies

  • AO

As a child, I was a huge fan of all things prehistoric. I remember recording all the episodes of Walking With Beasts and watching the same episodes over and over. To this day, I still find that those three series of Walking With documentaries are the pinnacle of prehistoric visual media, with Jurassic Park as the obvious exception.

So I entered my viewing of Ao - The Last Hunter with trepidation. I then begin to worry as the opening credits started to roll up in French. Now, I don’t know if this was just part of my review copy or not, but it was still annoying. What was worse, though, was that everyone spoke in English, with no French subtitles. The only other time I saw French in the film was when they were saying where they were, such as Europe Nord instead of North Europe. It’s just a bit weird but that might just have been my copy.

The story starts off fairly well, with a Neanderthal called Ao (don’t ask how to pronounce it) going out to kill a polar bear. This really sets the stage for the entire movie. You see, most of the scenery for the film looks pretty good, but the actual fight seen with the polar bear is really weak. I found myself laughing at how it had been done, since it just looked like he was fighting a teddy bear, and I swear I’d seen the real footage of the polar bear before. Now comes one of my major complaints. The characters in the film never talk to each other. Instead, they seem to grunt at each other, which quickly gets annoying. There are only two proper speakers in the entire film, one man and one woman. They do a good job of explaining because the story would have been unbelievably poor without them. Also, a quick note, if you’re uncomfortable with sex scenes, there’s two really out of place, not really needed sex scenes near the end of the film.

The costumes are also fairly good. They actually look like early man cavemen, with prominent brows and animal hide clothes. This made it look the part, making it so the first part seems promising. But the film slowly becomes worse and worse, introducing different characters very shortly and then forgetting them nearly instantly. The one thing the film did, though, was speak to my inner nerd. I’m not sure if this happened to anyone else who will ever watch this, but it happened to me. As I watched, my mind was thinking, “Hmmm, Neanderthals most have become extinct because of lack of intelligence, so they probably have intelligence of 3. But they seem to take out animals pretty easily, so must have strength 6 and toughness 7. Now humans must have the “Resist Disease” special rule so they could survive the disease. They also seem pretty smart, so they must have intelligence 6. Those forest people seem to do well with weapons, so must have Weapon Skill 6. And those other humans can throw spears really well, so must have Ballistic Skill 7.” Yes, I’m a giant RPG nerd.

In conclusion, I couldn’t recommend this film, in fact I would recommend against seeing it. It was a nice idea, but good ideas only get you so far. If the director wants to continue making films, I would advise him to work on his execution.

Ao - The Last Hunter is out now on DVD

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