Kings of the Sun is unique for the time in that it doesn’t feature a single “white man” character. There’s no invading Europeans with their fancy coats, silver tongues and daggers behind their backs. But hang about you cry, neither did Apocalypto (excluding the end). Maybe so, but Kings of the Sun takes it to the extreme by having not one, not two, but three different tribes of natives all fighting each other. It is the Gangs of New York of Mesoamerican inter-tribal gang warfare movies. But unlike Apocalypto there’s controversially no actual Native American actor on set here. And the lead is a Russian?! Something sure is afoot.
Basically Yul Brynner as Native American Chief Badass falls for British/Mayan Princess
There’s a common theme that re-occurs in a lot of movies about native tribes and indigenous peoples; typically their way of life is seen as simple but pure. We never see them worrying about paying their VISA bill or figuring out what to watch of Netflix, but then again nor do we ever see what they use to wipe their asses with. However, it’s typically the arrival of the dreaded White Man who spoils everything. His greed and cunning subvert and trick the poor natives until they’ve been swindled from their land or left to rot in shallow graves. Mel Gibson’s (Expendables 3) 2006 effort, Apocalypto, seeks to subvert this theory.
When I catch him I will peel his skin and have him watch me wear it
The Mohawk tribe of Native Americans have had a bum deal. First they allied with us proud British Red Coats during the Revolutionary War and lost everything when we made a “tactical retreat” back to old Blighty. Second, it must be pretty depressing to have a rich and culturally significant history so often mistaken for a hairstyle preferred by punks (the musical types) and Robert De Niro enthusiasts. That’s like reducing the historical contributions of Australia to mere advancements in barbecue technology. Hopefully Ted Geoghegan’s (We Are Still Here) 2017 low budget horror actioner Mohawk will do the good people some justice.
Mega Powerz vs. The All-Americans
It’s the Second World War. Nicolas Cage (The Trust) is Corporal Joe Enders. Fighting in some God forsaken jungle against hordes of Japanese killers, he’s tasked with holding some worthless piece of shit swamp no matter the cost. Degrading quicker than a Lars Von Trier movie, each of his beloved squad bite the dust one-by-one. “Lets bug out!” one marine suggests, nay begs. But Enders has his orders. It’s only when everyone around him are bleeding their guts out and dead in the dirt that he realizes that he should of sounded the order to retreat. Too late for that now, Joe, and a last moment kill crazy rampage (complete with manic Cage face) isn’t going to impress anyone. It’s only cut short by a lucky grenade that blows half his ear off.
Recouping after the failed op he’s promoted to Sargent much to his surprise. See the brass happen to think highly of a man who’ll condemn his brother marines to death in the name of orders. And they have a very special mission just because of it…
What a magical heap of Navajo horseshit
When a barefooted body of an 18 year old girl is found deep in the frozen wasteland of wintertime Montana by ace tracker/hunter/badass Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner – Captain America: Civil War) the FBI is called in. Rookie Special Agent Jane Banner (Elizabeth Olsen – Captain America: Civil War) arrives as the vanguard of a potential team of investigators. But when the cause of death is ruled as exposure and not rape/assault as suspected, the FBI pull the plug, leaving Banner, Lambert and police chief Ben Shoyo (Graham Greene – Dances with Wolves) to track down the killers alone. You better believe it ain’t gonna be pretty.
Luck don’t live out here
Back in the 90’s if you needed a distinctive Native American badass the choice would be obvious. You’d call Wes Studi. Now that might be an unfamiliar name to those not steeped in action cinema lore. But he’s one of those guys you’ve seen in loads of things loads of times. You’ll know the face. Most famously playing killer period Natives in Dances with Wolves and Last of the Mohicans, you might also recognize him as Sagat in Street Fighter or one of Pacino’s crew in Heat. He was even one of those blue dudes in Avatar. Cut to 2018 and he’s still at it. But now he’s old. And Hostiles reverses the roles. Instead of a scalp-collecting Cherokee brave he’s a silver-flecked chief just looking for some peace.
Batman vs. Last of the Mohicans