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Thursday, 2 December 1999

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted?

Once Were Warriors wasn't really the kind of film that demanded a follow-up, and despite featuring some of the same characters What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? isn't exactly a sequel. Jake the Muss (again played by Temuera Morrison) might have a new girlfriend (Edna Stirling), but he's still out there boozing on and causing fights even as his son Nig (Julian Arahanga) is killed in a set-up by his own gang. Nig's girlfriend Tania (Nancy Brunning) teams up with Nig's brother Sonny (Clint Eruera) to avenge his death, and when Jake refuses to help they get involved with a rival - and just as evil - gang. Meanwhile Jake's life is again on the skids as his erratic behaviour alienates family and friends, and it's not until he hit rock bottom that he realises helping Sonny may be his salvation - if he's not already too late...

The big difference between this film and the original is that Warriors actually had something to say about Maori society; this is just the continuing adventures of Jake the Muss, and his gradual redemption is nowhere near as powerful as his fall was in the first film. Without the savage energy of Warriors (despite the occasional nasty bashing) and a story that's a gang-warfare shadow of the original, even a collection of good performances can't save this from being something of a disappointment. What Becomes of the Broken Hearted? isn't a bad film - it's just no Once Were Warriors.

Anthony Morris

(this review appeared in Forte#198)

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