• 51%
    65 votes
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Java Heat 2013

  • Conor Allyn
  • April 16, 2013
  • 104 mins
  • English
  • Action, Crime, Drama, Thriller
An American in Indonesia teams up with a Muslim cop to track down a terrorist.


All 3 Comments

Hmm... okay. Where do I start?

Firstly, the camera work is inconsistent. It's pretty decent at times, but it could be really bad. This is particularly disappointing when they're shooting action scenes; they just can't find the right angle for displaying the intensity. Also in night scenes it almost always looks very grainy, as if it was shot with a handycam.

The action scenes itself is actually decent, putting aside the camera work problems. What bothers me though is the other scenes. Some shots were taken without significant usefulness, like when some random cop cursing each time they miss the target; there's also this weird scene where the main character, Jake, awkwardly misstep and fell (this happens during a chasing scene, but the chaser didn't catch up with Jake even after he did that fatal misstep).

And I don't usually mind indecent plot in action movies, but this one is just... bothering. I can't quite figure what's going on until the second half of the movie. The plot seems too convoluted for a decent action movie (conspiracy within the keraton, involvement of the Chinese gang and human trafficking, the politics in US marine, etc). Moreover, they don't develop further the complex subplot! When the complex conspiracy wear out its usefulness, it just got thrown away. It gets better in the second half of the movie, when eventually it ends with Malik (Mickey Rourke) alone - but it should've been that way since the start.

They also have some drama and character development, but feels unnecessary and pretty weak. It also feels pretty odd seeing many Indonesian characters, played by Indonesian actors, speak English almost all the time (this reminds me of Uncharted, the video game that takes place in Indonesia but the characters still speak English).

Another thing, this one especially feels really odd as a Javanese: the movie maker doesn't seem to understand the Keraton system in Java. One thing for sure, it is pretty patriarchist, unlike Aceh Sultanate or a brief period in Ottoman Sultanate. So the existence of "Sultana" (a woman sultan) feels really out of place. Second, there is also no vizier (wazir) in Javanese Keraton. I think they should've researched this part better, since the plot relies on this...

Last, the final scene in Borobudur... is pretty disappointing. It got hyped when this movie was released. But turns out this is just a regular shootout. Not to mention the grainy shot.

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Not the best movie I've ever seen ...

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