Java Heat is a buddy action film, with an oddly ‘80s feel, featuring Kellan Lutz, Ario Bayu and Mickey Rourke. It’s not an amazing film by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have enough silliness to make it something of a guilty time-waster.
Lutz plays Jake, an American who teams with Hashim (Bayu), an Islamic cop to track down terrorists (lead by Rourke) who have killed the daughter of the local sultan. Java Heat is twisty and turny, but not very intelligent. Many of the film’s supposed plot twists just come across as moments from previous drafts of the script that haven’t been deleted, rather than cohesive story choices.
Twilight alumnus, Kellan Lutz leads the cast as the American hero. Lutz is serviceable, but a bit wooden, coming across as a poor man’s Channing Tatum. Ario Bayu has much more presence as Lutz’s untrusting partner, it’s a clichéd role, but Bayu does his best with what he’s been given. The real scene stealer here is Mickey Rourke, who appears to be going through his late period Brando-phase. He chews the scenery like cheap tobacco, and inexplicably plays his role with a French accent. It’s totally bizarre, but Rourke pulls it off because..well…he’s Mickey Rourke.
Conor Allyn’s film has a lot of old-fashioned action – car chases, foot chases, bike chases and shoot-outs, but none of it really connects, there’s no sense of danger. While his script with his father, Rob feels like a direct-to-video actioner from the 80s, but the buddy sparring doesn’t gel – it feels forced. Allyn is more successful at giving us a feel for Indonesia, and he makes the best of the exotic culture, especially during the film’s climax.
Java Heat brings nothing new to the buddy-action genre, except maybe an audience of teenage girls and their mothers who want to catch a bit of Lutz in the buff.