Java Heat Reviews
A Muslim and American detective collaborates to try and bring down a terrorist drug lord in the Indonesia city of Java. The American quickly becomes to scapegoat for many of the terrorist's acts complicating their efforts and the Indonesian detective's ability to trust him. Can the two work together and track down the terrorist kingpin?
"You know you can trust me."
"Yeah, that's why you're sitting in the back."
Conor Allyn, director of Hearts of Freedom, Zoe Gone, Pocket Listing, and Hyper 5, delivers Java Heat. The storyline for this picture is very mediocre and cliché with an excellent villain. The script is mediocre and the action is fairly good. The cast delivers below average performances and really only has Mickey Rourke worth noting.
"Like a bull in a China shop."
"Why would a bull buy dishes?"
This was recently added to Netflix so I added it to the queue as a fan of Mickey Rourke. This was a very blah action film with little going for it. Rourke had some good moments, but not enough to make this worth watching. I'd skip this, even if you're a fan of action pictures.
"You get in bed with a snake don't be surprised when you are bitten"
(2013) Java Heat
It's trying to imply to viewers that it's an action movie, but despite it's obvious limited resources, I still kind of like it, even though the Indonesian culture shown is blatant and uninteresting, the acting is mediocre as well as the story. Jake Wilde (Kellan Lutz) goes undercover working in Indonesia after a nearby terrorist explosion with Lieutenant Hashim (Ario Bayu) on his tail. We soon find out that the 'Sultra of Java' princess was not really killed in the explosion after all, but was really kidnapped with Mickey Rourke playing the bad guy as Malik, who's somehow behind it except that viewers can't really see the link until the movie is progressing.
All I can say is that as a big sucker for actual explosions and stunts without help from CGI, even though the few fight scenes the movie had was lousy and amateurish, I still liked this since it looked like that it was trying to do more with the little money the movie had without degrading. I also don't see many movies that involve Indonesia culture.
2.5 out of 4 stars
The film offers some thin, unsubtle characterization, and it could have potentially compensated for that if it at least spent more time drawing out the character types, yet as things stand, there's hardly any background to immediate development, while gradual exposition proves to be lacking, or least feels that way, due to some serious unevenness to character usage. Even the jumps between Kellan Lutz's and Ario Bayu's sides of the same central narrative that they lead jars, and yet, whatever the plot layer in focus may be, there's at least consistency in familiarity, as there are few, if any refreshing elements to the character types, as well as a "complex" thriller plot that is not intricate enough to keep you from predicting. This effort entertains just fine along the way, but you know this path, and whether you've seen it through certain '80s thrillers that seem to have some influence on storytelling or through a fall-flat modern thriller that takes itself too seriously, this storytelling is hardly anything new, going so far as to take subtlety issues that are practically trademark in films of this type. The lighter moments - some of which go so far as to incorporate all-out comic relief - are relatively rare, but are about as rarely organic as shifts in tone, breaking tension with some cheesiness, backed by a lack of subtlety that ironically also backs tension. The film is consistent in conventionalism and a lack of subtlety, yet it continues to be uneven in focus and tone, and that's challenging enough to your investment enough without all of pacing inconsistencies, which at least seem present when director Conor Allyn runs out of steam. This film is rarely too dull, but there are times in which dry meditations and other questionable directorial elements bring storytelling to a whiplash-inducing half that blands things up and distances, though not without retaining enough of your attention to direct it toward other flaws, which are considerable in quantity and severity. The final product comes pretty close to mediocrity, a point that many are saying it actually descends from, but for me, decency is ultimately achieved, by a hair, to be sure, but enough so for me to be engaged, at least on a visual level.
Shane Daly's cinematography is not quite unique enough to be all that striking, but it's still stronger than certain people are giving it credit for, being bleak enough to compliment the grit of this environment, while keeping up enough softness to carry a distinct handsomeness. Fine cinematography is pretty much the most recurring stylistic strength in this film, yet style is perhaps brought to light the most during brawls, shootouts and other assorted action goodness, backed by formulaic, but impressively harsh staging, whose intensity plays a big part in backing this thriller with a genuine sense of consequence. If tension is ever present, it's certainly quite prominent during the action sequences, as surely as other heights in engagement value go anchored by sharp style, yet, I must that is might be substance that ultimately saves the final product from mediocrity. Sure, this story is generic and thin, and the telling of it is not too much more biting, yet there is still a fair bit of bite, at least in concept, no matter how predictable this dramatic action thriller is, which isn't to say that the interpretation of this narrative isn't still commendable in plenty of areas, including the portrayal of thinly drawn characters. The particularly underused Mickey Rourke steals the show with both an excellent accent and an intimidating presence as an antagonist, but the leads keep things going, to a certain extent at least, with Kellan Lutz having bland moments, yet ultimately a decent amount of charisma, while Ario Bayu proves to be even more effective in his portrayal of a charmingly short-fused, but sharp and humanly flawed man of the law who gets in over his head. Really, every performance is pretty decent, including a key offscreen one by Conor Allyn, whose directorial efforts are more like Lutz's onscreen performance, in that they have their share of bland spells, yet are generally quite decent, playing with anything from an often atmospheric score by Justin Caine Burnett, to the aforementioned striking style and action in order to grip, or at least entertain. Yeah, there are bland spells, but at the end of the day, this is pretty entertaining stuff, and while I kind of wish that the final product was more than that, - say, a more refreshing and coherent thriller - that's enough to get it by as decent, even if it doesn't get things by as especially memorable.
When the heat has cooled down, the final product is chilled down too much by underdevelopment, genericisms, inconsistencies in focus and tone, and many an atmospheric cold spell to drift too far away from mediocrity, which it still manages to evade to a fair extent, as there is enough handsomeness to the cinematography, intensity to the action, intrigue to the thin narrative, charisma to the lead performances by Kellan Lutz and Ario Bayu, and effectiveness to Conor Allyn's direction to make "Java Heat" an adequately entertaining and often genuinely intense thriller, no matter how much thrills go limited.
2.5/5 - Fair