Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Java Heat

The perfect macho date movie for that Type A juicehead in your life, marked by Mickey Rourke’s ever-accelerating descent into Lon Chaney-esque grotesqueness.

May 10, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376888-Java_Heat_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

An inevitable thought occurred to me while watching the Indonesian-set thriller Java Heat: Exactly when did Mickey Rourke turn into Marie Dressler? As Malik, the luridly evil villain of the piece, his now dowager-like face is completely unrecognizable from his younger self, as he swans about in an impeccably white suit in lodgings that look like the fanciest Chinese restaurant of 1947, while speaking in a risibly Eurotrash accent and feeding chocolates to a pair of dancing girls who continually writhe—sans music—for him in the background.

Camp? You bet, and it’s as if director/co-writer Conor Allyn had seen every exotic potboiler ever made and decided to outdo them all in the name of shameless entertainment. It’s shameless, all right, but how entertaining depends on your tolerance for a clichéd storyline which posits Jake Travers (muscle-bound Kellan Lutz), an undercover FBI agent posing as an art-history student (!), trying to get to the bottom of a terrorist attack which supposedly killed the daughter of the sultan of the island.

In time-honored Ugly American fashion, Jake mutters at a party, “They told me formal attire, but it’s just Hawaiian shirts!” “It’s batik,” he is swiftly corrected by detective Hashim (Ario Bayu), but obviously Jake got the memo wrong anyway, for his idea of “formal” is a suit and tie. This abrasive, constantly corrective interaction forms the basis of the men’s relationship as they set out in search of Malik who, of course, is responsible for all the mayhem.

The film overflows with skillfully shot chase and explosive action sequences, with regular stops for gruff risibility. Acting-wise, Lutz is no Channing Tatum (which is not saying that much to begin with), and rather adds to the unintentional hilarity with his reading of lines like “We’re cops, man. We gotta stick together!” and especially, “He killed the Vizier!” Die-hard Twi-hards will be happy to know that the Lutz lats are on piquant display in a gratuitous workout scene, as well as an undraped massage with an Indonesian lovely making with the feet on his backside. Women, incidentally, are distinctly shunted to the side here, serving in various prop-like ways, dead or alive, with one even receiving a vicious branding at one point.

Bayu actually manages to be both convincing and emotionally effective, although he is required to once again correct Jake when he discovers a long-lost, essential precious necklace and exclaims, “All that glitters is gold!” “Glisters,” Hashim prompts, “Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice.” And then it’s swiftly on to the next bullet-riddled chase scene.


Film Review: Java Heat

The perfect macho date movie for that Type A juicehead in your life, marked by Mickey Rourke’s ever-accelerating descent into Lon Chaney-esque grotesqueness.

May 10, 2013

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376888-Java_Heat_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

An inevitable thought occurred to me while watching the Indonesian-set thriller Java Heat: Exactly when did Mickey Rourke turn into Marie Dressler? As Malik, the luridly evil villain of the piece, his now dowager-like face is completely unrecognizable from his younger self, as he swans about in an impeccably white suit in lodgings that look like the fanciest Chinese restaurant of 1947, while speaking in a risibly Eurotrash accent and feeding chocolates to a pair of dancing girls who continually writhe—sans music—for him in the background.

Camp? You bet, and it’s as if director/co-writer Conor Allyn had seen every exotic potboiler ever made and decided to outdo them all in the name of shameless entertainment. It’s shameless, all right, but how entertaining depends on your tolerance for a clichéd storyline which posits Jake Travers (muscle-bound Kellan Lutz), an undercover FBI agent posing as an art-history student (!), trying to get to the bottom of a terrorist attack which supposedly killed the daughter of the sultan of the island.

In time-honored Ugly American fashion, Jake mutters at a party, “They told me formal attire, but it’s just Hawaiian shirts!” “It’s batik,” he is swiftly corrected by detective Hashim (Ario Bayu), but obviously Jake got the memo wrong anyway, for his idea of “formal” is a suit and tie. This abrasive, constantly corrective interaction forms the basis of the men’s relationship as they set out in search of Malik who, of course, is responsible for all the mayhem.

The film overflows with skillfully shot chase and explosive action sequences, with regular stops for gruff risibility. Acting-wise, Lutz is no Channing Tatum (which is not saying that much to begin with), and rather adds to the unintentional hilarity with his reading of lines like “We’re cops, man. We gotta stick together!” and especially, “He killed the Vizier!” Die-hard Twi-hards will be happy to know that the Lutz lats are on piquant display in a gratuitous workout scene, as well as an undraped massage with an Indonesian lovely making with the feet on his backside. Women, incidentally, are distinctly shunted to the side here, serving in various prop-like ways, dead or alive, with one even receiving a vicious branding at one point.

Bayu actually manages to be both convincing and emotionally effective, although he is required to once again correct Jake when he discovers a long-lost, essential precious necklace and exclaims, “All that glitters is gold!” “Glisters,” Hashim prompts, “Shakespeare: Merchant of Venice.” And then it’s swiftly on to the next bullet-riddled chase scene.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Film Review: Magical Universe

Your interest in and tolerance of this film will largely depend on how much you can see Barbie the Doll as Barbie the Muse. More »

Film Review: All You Need Is Love

The emptily generic title gives it away: This doc is undeniably well-intentioned but basically clueless. More »

Film Review: The  ABCs of Death 2

Twenty-six short horror films by 26 different directors equals 26 ways to be disappointed. More »

Film Review: Point and Shoot

Failing to substantially plumb the larger nonfiction questions it raises, this fascinating if flawed documentary recounts the story of an American who chose to fight in the 2011 Libyan revolution. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

John Wick
Film Review: John Wick

Retired hit man seeks revenge on Russian mob in an above-average action film. More »

Fury Review
Film Review: Fury

American tanks fight superior German forces in the closing days of World War II. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here