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95 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An often-forgotten incredible man who fought to become king
Shaka Zulu still invokes fear in the hearts of black Africans, even to this day. I lived in South Africa for 20 years, and I once asked our elderly maid (Who was a Zulu) about Shaka Zulu. Terror was written all over her face at mention of a man so evil yet so powerful. She never wanted to speak about him again.
Folklore indeed, but folklore has its point of origin...
Published on 2 Nov 2004

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unapologetically dissapointed
This is not the complete Shaka Zulu DVD, a lot of series were cut out and its a disgrace to make people pay for incomplete series yet advertised as Complete, waste of my money!my xmas was ruined totally.
Published on 16 Jan 2012 by I. D. B. Nake


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95 of 102 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An often-forgotten incredible man who fought to become king, 2 Nov 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
Shaka Zulu still invokes fear in the hearts of black Africans, even to this day. I lived in South Africa for 20 years, and I once asked our elderly maid (Who was a Zulu) about Shaka Zulu. Terror was written all over her face at mention of a man so evil yet so powerful. She never wanted to speak about him again.
Folklore indeed, but folklore has its point of origin. What people don't remember is that Shaka had absolute power over his people, and each of their lives. This is portrayed very much in the movie. When I first saw this as a mini-series I loved it, and thought it was an excellent portayel of a mighty warrior with a formidable intellect, that at one time was a real problem for the British, a country that was thousands of years more technologically advanced than his own.
In this DVD Henry Cele delivers a perfect likeness of the real Shaka Zulu, an incredibly brilliant man with a strong physique, who had a awful childhood, for which, through brilliant madness, he savagely took revenge, to become ultimate ruler of his world, the Zulu nation.
.....How many people have you heard of has done that before ?
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45 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Never leave an enemy behind or it will rise again to fly at your throat.",, 16 Aug 2007
By 
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
I've first seen this series when it first came out on TV and it had me at awe and having watched the whole series through again I realized that this is still a great story, very well told and well acted. Filmed entirely on location in South Africa, Shaka Zulu offers an often-compelling look at a tumultuous period in African history, centering around the character of Shaka himself, who emerges as a complex figure teetering on the balance between leader and tyrant. What I like most about Shaka Zulu is that it never bows to stereotype and never simplifies the story down to "good guys versus bad guys. The British government is clearly in favor of colonizing Africa through fair means or foul; some of the British feel that this is wrong, though they are outvoted by those who feel that British self-interest (and power) takes precedence over the less powerful native nations of Africa. But it's also abundantly clear that Shaka is far from a heroic leader of his people against European colonialism. His rise to power is shown to be a bloody, brutal story of merciless warfare and the quenching of his own personal thirst for revenge; and in the end, we can see that a "great leader" can destroy a nation as easily as he can create it.

Who can forget Henry Cele? He does a very creditable job as in the title role, radiating the raw power of the war leader while also clearly portraying Shaka's keen and agile mind. The scenes in which Farewell and the others match wits with Shaka are some of the most entertaining, particularly when Dr. Fynn (Robert Powell) tries to direct Shaka toward the study of Christianity; Shaka's reasoned (and alarming, for Dr. Fynn) application of the story of Christ to his own situation is priceless. Edward Fox does his best to portray Lt. Farewell as a fully-developed character, but in this case, the series can be faulted for not being detailed enough, despite the length of the production. The concluding episodes appear to build on aspects of Farewell's character that are insufficiently supported by what we've seen of him in the story. It's worth noting that the listing of Christopher Lee as a co-star is hyperbole: he does appear in the film, but only very briefly at the beginning.

One thing that holds Shaka Zulu back from being a really outstanding epic story is the unevenness of the narrative; while some of the episodes are well-paced and interesting all the way through, others have less to offer. There are good production values and great scenery and hundreds of "real" extras, a refreshing change from the vacuous CGI laden "epics" which flood the cinema. I think the fact this was a mini-series has led to this production being seriously undervalued. While it's far from perfect, it is certainly ambitious, and does capture the epic sweep of Shaka's life and times.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every penny!, 25 Oct 2009
By 
Basel A. R. Badran (Dubai, UAE) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
I used to watch Shaka Zulu as a TV series long time ago & to find it on Amazon was like finding a treasure! The DVDs are of excellent quality & worth your money.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Unapologetically dissapointed, 16 Jan 2012
By 
I. D. B. Nake "irvine nake" (united kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
This is not the complete Shaka Zulu DVD, a lot of series were cut out and its a disgrace to make people pay for incomplete series yet advertised as Complete, waste of my money!my xmas was ruined totally.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shaka Zulu - 3 tape set, 10 Oct 2003
By 
Mr. H. M. Mernick (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shaka Zulu Pt 3 [VHS] (VHS Tape)
I bought this three tape set some years ago, and have never seen it for sale again since. This superb drama, set in an awesome landscape, remains a strong favourite of mine. The interplay between Black AND White Imperialist forces is unique in my experience. The British are outdone in deviousness and ruthlessness every time they try to gain an advantage. This film puts the other, better known, Zulu films in the shade.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shaka Zulu, 3 Aug 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
I first saw Shako Zulu when it first came out, and I can partialy remember it. At that time it was a remarkable history of the Zulu Warrior, and I think still rated as one of the best historical films about South Africa, and the people who lived there before white intervention, ie ,the Boers and of course the British, who in turn brought about the downfall of a fine warrior army. After all they were only trying to protect their way of life and culture. I look forward to seeing it again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic on the collision of different cultures, 25 Feb 2006
Shaka Zulu is rich in content as it throws light in the inner minds of black Africa before the advent of the white man. It throws more insight into the organizational structure of Shaka's military machine. Shot on the beautiful landscapes of Southern Africa, the brutality and savagery of Shaka is somewhat in direct conflict with the quiet and serenity of the countryside.
The movie is blessed with rich and diverse custumes, the war scenes are refreshing and unique. Everyone should have a copy in their library.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars African History - Shaka, 24 Jan 2010
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
I originally hired this video on VHS soon after its release in 1986. When browsing recently for a DVD on "amazon.co.uk" I stumbled across it, and remembering how much I had enjoyed the original viewing, I bought it.

Seeing it again was just as enjoyable as the first time, with parts I had long forgotten standing out as important features of the story. From what I have read, this video is close to portraying the actual events in the history of the Zulu nation, despite being a feature rather than a documentary. The interviews with the leading actors were a bonus and well worth watching. This DVD is well worth having in a personal collection as, like few others, it is seems ageless and can be viewed many times as an absorbing true story.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Zulu History Carefully Reconstructed!!!!, 22 Jun 2007
By 
nmollo (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
"Shaka Zulu" the ten part mini-series is an interesting mix of good filmmaking and bad filmmaking. Certain scenes are beautifully done and perfectly paced while others seem to be the work of a bored and untalented film student.

The late William C. Faure's talent as a director really starts to shine when the story is told from the Zulu point of view. For instance, the love scene between Nandi and Senzagakona at the river is beautifully played and executed. The scenes with the young Shaka are generally over played and poorly directed. All the scenes with the British are of a poor standard especially the pontificating and condescending opening scene with the Zulu King and Queen Victoria. The best British scenes are the ones involving Christopher Lee.

The acting is generally of a very high standard. Edward Fox is as good as always. He plays his part with dash and honesty rarely seen nowadays. Robert Powell is his usual studied and self-conscious self. The beautiful Dudu Kkhize portrays Nandi and for the most part she is very good.

The most remarkable performance has to be that of Henry Cele as Shaka. It is hard, if not impossible, to imagine anyone else in the part of Shaka. He is simply perfect in every aspect and is a surprisingly good actor. It is possible to empathize with Shaka, even understand him and this is because of the towering performance given by Henry Cele. He lets you inside the mind of this despot and translates his pain, confusion and arrogance. This has to be one of the best pieces of casting in cinema history. Conrad Magwaza gives a great performance as Shaka's father, Senzagakona. He plays the part with confidence, comedy and charm.

The production design and costumes for the Zulu sequences are first class. Also a remarkable amount of historically accurate material finds itself within the script and this has to be commended. The death of Shaka is open to interpretation but it is generally believed that a relative poisoned him.

The contrasting styles of filmmaking that abound in this production are a shame. An inept scene usually follows an excellent one and visa versa. I am sure this was partly due to the tight scheduling and production constraints.

The musical score is dated and histrionic. A low quality keyboard orchestra pervades scenes that need no accompaniment and destroys certain well-crafted moments. The songs are pretty cheesy as well. With the wealth of extraordinary Zulu music that exists, it is a shame that the score could not have utilized its rhythms and instruments to a more satisfying degree.

Having so little African history on film, this mini series has to be classed as a classic. The whole experience is rewarding, exciting and surprisingly refreshing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Soundtrack, 31 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Shaka Zulu [1986] [DVD] (DVD)
This DVD has a dreadful soundtrack. The speech is overlayed with sound effects and then loud music is put on top. It is very difficult to hear the narration.
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Shaka Zulu [DVD] [1986] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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