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The Jakarta Post
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‘Dead Mine’: Hunting Yamashita’s treasure

  • Niken Prathivi

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, January 20 2013 | 01:43 pm

Four mercenaries escort a group of treasure hunters into an abandoned bunker deep in the jungles of
Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Yamashita’s Gold, a legendary hoard of war loot that was stolen in Southeast Asia by Japanese forces during World War II, is a popular topic among ambitious treasure hunters. The treasure was named after Japanese general Tomoyuki Yamashita.

A pushy rich man, Warren Price (Les Loveday), seeks the treasure and sponsors the dangerous voyage. He comes to the island under the protection of mercenaries Capt. Tino Prawa (Ario Bayu), Ario Nando (Mike Lewis), Djoko (Joe Taslim) and Sgt. Papa Ular (Jaitov Tigor).

The group enters and gets trapped in a disused mine, which Price believes is the Japanese bunker that holds the treasure.

Despite the gold, one of the group members, Rie (Miki Mizuno), is certain that the bunker holds another dark secret, which is far beyond her expectations.

Ario is the first victim of an unidentified creature within the bunker.

He is grabbed by a thing coming out of the ground and is found in a tragic condition after being brutally killed.

With one man down, the creatures — which were created by Japan for its imperial super troops during World War II — look for more.

Despite the nightmare, Price is still up for the treasure. Yet the rest are fighting the best they can to get out of the bunker safe and sound.

Dead Mine is an English-language action-horror flick produced by Infinite Studios in collaboration with HBO Asia at Infinite’s huge sound stage and back lot facility in Batam.

The film offers an international standard in the overall look of its production, giving striking results in terms of set decoration, make-up, visual effects and an imaginative plot as well as natural dialogue in the script.

Executive producer for Infinite Studios Mike Wiluan first came up with the idea of making an action-horror with an adventure-twist film. With some help from HBO Asia and several experts in the film industry, Dead Mine offers an alternative flavor to the country’s locally produced movies.

The visual effects department was headed by Dayne Cowan, an expert of more than 18 years in the field. He has been involved in high-profile projects including Batman Begins and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The Japanese bunker is an impressive set, with stunning visual effects in several of the action scenes.

“As an Indonesian, I love to make films in Indonesia that use local talent and crews. I don’t want to see Indonesia as just a market for films, I want it to be more involved in the industry,” Mike told The Jakarta Post recently.

Alongside foreign crew, Dead Mine was created by around 90 Indonesian crewmembers from set decoration to wardrobe.

The film was shot in 30 days in November 2011 and released in Singapore in September 2012. It reached Indonesian cinemas in early January 2013.

“If the public responds well to this movie we will probably produce a prequel or sequel. I personally feel like the Dead Mine’s plot can be developed better,” said Mike, adding that he had offered the film to international markets such as the US, Canada, UK and Australia.

Managing his business from Singapore, Mike has created several films and television shows. One of his most recent productions is Tatsumi, an animated drama movie which premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

He also produced slasher flick Rumah Dara (Macabre) in 2010 and Meraih Mimpi (Reaching a Dream), an Indonesian version of animated film Sing to the Dawn, in 2008.

Dead Mine
(90 minutes, Infinite Studios)

Cast: Ario Bayu, Mike Lewis, Joe Taslim, Les Loveday, Sam Hazeldine, Miki Mizuno, Jaitov Tigor
Director: Steven Sheil
Writers: Steven Sheil, Ziad Semaan
Producer: Mike Wiluan


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