Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Java Heat: Open Up a Can of Cultural Exchange
Exchange is a beautiful thing. A Muslim police
officer will teach a mysterious American to wear a Batik to formal Indonesian
affairs. He will return the favor by
indoctrinating his reluctant by-the-book ally in the finer points of American
buddy-action movies. Get ready to learn
what’s good for you in Conor Allyn’s Java
screens ‘round about midnight this weekend at the IFC Center.
Sultana was poised to succeed her father the Sultan as one of Java’s most influential
and respected leaders. Unfortunately,
she is killed by a suicide bomber. As
viewers learn during Lt. Hashim’s interrogation, American Jake Travers was suspiciously
close to the action—and he was not wearing his Batik. Hashim scolds the suspect he ought to know
better as a visiting Southeast Asian Studies scholar. Art history Travers counters. Do not be surprised if this exchange is repeated
maybe once or twice.
course, Travers is not really an academic and the terrorists are absolutely,
positively not Muslims. Instead, the bad
guy is Mickey Rourke, sporting the most bizarre, ethnically ambiguous accent
you will ever want to hear. Give him
credit though, he maintains its impenetrable consistency.
Java is not what you
would call subtle cinema. Father and son
co-writer-co-producers Rob and Conor Allyn could have easily titled it “Muslims
are not Terrorists: featuring Kellan Lutz’s abs.” Before long the term “doth protest too much”
should echo through most viewers’ heads.
there is stuff that works here. Ario Bayu
totally delivers the intense cop-on-the-edge goods as Hashim. Likewise, Atiqah Hasiholan’s Sultana lends
the film some classy charisma. Always a
dependable spectacle, Rourke is truly a three-ring circus of villainy as the
unclassifiable Malik. Even Lutz soldiers
through relatively competently, exceeding expectations for a Twilight franchise alumnus.
Cinematographer Shane Daly gives it all a suitably
mysterious sheen, particularly the climax at the great Borobudur temple. In general, the action sequences are credibly
produced, if somewhat conventional.
Frankly, Java Heat would be an
impressively scrappy genre programmer if only it were not so determined to
interrupt the flow with teaching moments.
Recommended mostly for Rourke’s loyal fans (and God bless them), Java Heat begins a week of screenings
tomorrow (5/10) at the IFC Center and is also available via IFC Midnight’s VOD
Labels: Mickey Rourke