This is my very long overdue review of Java Heat. This is the first movie I saw from Dallas International Film Festival. As soon as I heard the title, I had very little hope for this film. I asked Sarah if it was some sort of Skinimax movie; somewhere between the lines of a porno and a made for TV movie. People should have learned by now that using “heat” in a title can never help. The cast is less than spectacular as well, but included Mickey Rourke who is at least a familiar name. I’ve had low expectations for a film many times and been incredibly surprised afterwards (Perks of Being a Wallflower for example, but at least that is a good book). This film didn’t exactly set the bar very high and gave me very little to look forward to, but I always like to give a film a chance.
Java Heat is a film by relatively unknown director, Conor Allyn, and written by his father, Rob Allyn. In this film, we follow a character named Jake Travers (Kellan Lutz, Twilight). Jake appears as a grad student in Indonesia from the States in order to study art from the surrounding areas. He is invited to a party, which also happens to be hosting a very important princess. Jake proceeds to hit on this princess unknowingly right before a major terrorist attack at the party, which leaves the princess dead. The police do not see this as merely coincidental and begin a thorough investigation of Jake. This investigation is taken on by a local police detective named Hashim (Ario Bayu). While investigating, Hashim discovers there is, of course, more to Jake than he let on. Jake is actually an AWOL soldier who came to Indonesia in order to stop the terrorist responsible for several bombings throughout Indonesia. Together they struggle through political and cultural turmoil in order to pursue Malik (Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler) who seems to be even more twisted than we are made aware of. Together, Hashim and Jake must find a way to set aside their differences and use their partnership before something worse happens again.
Like I said before, I’ve had low expectations of a movie and, in the end, came out with a very different opinion. However, in this situation, I do believe I hit the nail on the head. The biggest reason I put this review off for so long iss because it is horrible. I really hate giving bad reviews, but this film deserves it. While other people may be able to tolerate movies like this, I can’t and wish I could have gotten the 2 hours I lost watching it back. There are just too many things wrong with it. First off, the acting is beyond bad. I can see why Kellan Lutz was passed up for the Conan the Barbarian remake. He’s just plain boring. They obviously tried incredibly hard to build him up as an action star in this film, but I never saw it. The delivery of his “tough guy lines” left me laughing, not to mention the gratuitous work out montages and massage scenes. He is everything you expect in a bad actor and is possibly the worst part of this movie. The only thing he is good at, and it is impressive, is looking worse than Mickey Rourke. Rourke is actually very believeable as a child perving, bird hoarding, and money terrorist. Basically, it is his job to look creepy and be unable to understand. He isn’t even speaking another language. You just really can’t understand him speaking English. There are subtitles for his English. Good job, Mickey.
I found that the plot is incredibly deluded, too. It’s pretty obvious that the writing was done in order to put a lot of focus on a religious scheme. I feel like it is forced and unnecessary through most of the movie. The film points out that a huge portion of Indonesians are Muslim, so it must be a Muslim crime. This felt very “skapegoatish” to me, especially when Rourke’s character’s main objective is just money, or so it seems. The organization of the film left it very confusing and contradictory at times. At one point, Jake is a spy, then he is a grad student, then he is just a soldier, then he is a spy. Smoke and mirrors is a cool way to leave the audience in suspense, but confusing the audience just leaves them sleeping in their chairs, which is what I wanted to do by the end. I also didn’t like the direction of Jake and Hashim. Jake is obviously a suspect for this bombing, as well as being AWOL, misleading, and elusive. I could never figure out why Hashim is taking him everywhere and trusting him like a partner when he had absolutely no reason to. It is all very frustrating.
In the end, Java Heat feels like it is a bunch of confusing explosions after awkward dialogue after meat-head logic. Combined with the bad acting and gaping plot holes, I can’t ensure anyone is really going to like this film at all. However, tons of people like Twilight, but I am just not one of them. Good luck trying to get your money back when you are disappointed.
I give Java Heat 1 “oily gym sock” out of 5.
by Jason Burleson