Java Heat

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:44 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Java Heat
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Kellen Lutz, Mickey Rourke, Ario Bayu
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: IFC Films / MPI Media Group
Blu-ray Release: September 17, 2013
Kiddie Movie: Nope. It’s got killing and blowing stuff up.
Date Movie: Nah. Unless she finds Kellen Lutz dreamy.
Gratuitous Sex: A scene where Jake picks up a lady of the evening.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of shooting and blowing stuff up.
Action: See “Violence.”
Laughs: Nah.
Memorable Scene: Nothing really.
Memorable Quote: Hashim to Jake: “You were given two eyes and one mouth. What did you see?”
Directed By: Connor Allyn
Cool things about the Blu-ray: It’s got a nice “Making of…” featurette where we learn of Kellen’s future acting plans.

You know what makes me sad? No? I’ll tell you. A movie that has a lot of potential and a pretty decent story, only to be pulled down by a lead actor that isn’t lead actor qualified yet, and a lazy plot development that takes away from the entertaining plot/action that preceded it. “Java Heat” made me sad. And yes, there might be a spoiler in this review.

Here’s the thing, “Java Heat” isn’t a bad movie, and it tries really hard. The story is pretty safe, basically about an FBI/marine dude who is hot on the trail of an international terrorist/thief guy, and finds himself in Indonesia at the latest bombing which turns out to be an attempt to get some crown jewels. He becomes intertwined with the Indonesian police in some weird world of “We hate Muslims/We hate Americans/We hate anyone who doesn’t like our General” world, and it’s supposed to be an action-packed thriller on the way to catch the bad guy. Sounds nice enough. Just as things are heating up, and the intrigue grows, guess what? Now let’s throw in a kidnapping involving the Indonesian police dude’s family, so now it’s personal. Why? Why go with this lazy plot-line? Why not ratchet up the action? Why not throw in some double-cross? Blah!

In the not-ready-for-prime-time-role as leading action man we get Kellen Lutz as Jake, yes, Kellen of “Twilight” fame, and although he has the looks of a potential action guy, his acting seems stuck in Twilight. Then there is Mickey Rourke, fresh from awesomeness in “The Wrestler” and even being a kick-ass bad guy in “Iron Man 2,” and here he is in a role with a bad accent, in what almost seems like a toss-off role with a bad guy who doesn’t seem that sinister. Then there is the fact that as a Marine/Spy/FBI guy, Jake is an idiot. He doesn’t seem to know his room is bugged, he gets himself drugged, and he doesn’t realize they have internet in Indonesia. What kind of spy-guy is this?

I did, however, like Ario Bayu in the role of Lieutenant Hashim, well, at least he until he was relegated to “saving my family,” but without him to hold this movie together, I would have been tossing and turning at night to go with only one or maybe two stars.

It’s got some decent action, though I suppose budget constraints kept things a little tamer than they could have been, and for an evening of watching something because you’ve seen most of the other movies, “Java Heat” isn’t bad. I’ll split this right in the middle and give the attempt at a decent action thriller 2 ½ stars out of 5. A better actor for the lead, maybe a better budget, and I could have gone a little higher, but there was too much bad for Ario Bayu to bring up that much much.

As far as the Blu-ray, it’s got the “Making of…” featurette where we learn Kellen has hopes of being the next, big action franchise star. I don’t think this movie helps him on his quest, however, that and the fact that his acting in this movie is stiff. He almost needed to quit trying so hard and have a little fun. And not let his character be so stupid.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!

Frankenstein’s Army

MPAA Rated – R
It’s 1:24 Long
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Frankenstein’s Army
Movie Stats & Links
Starring: Karel Roden, Joshua Sasse, Robert Gwilym, Alexander Mercury
MPAA Rated: R
Released By: Dark Sky Films / MPI Media Group
Blu-ray Release Date: September 10, 2013
Kiddie Movie: It’s got a lot of gore. Best send them to bed without the pending nightmares.
Date Movie: Only if she is a fan of campy horror films.
Gratuitous Sex: Nah.
Gratuitous Violence: Lots of blood and cutting of human skulls.
Action: The zombots are pretty slow. Nah.
Laughs: It’s got some “over-the-top” chuckles in the horror kind of way.
Memorable Scene: I loved Propellerhead.
Memorable Quote: Nothing stood out.
Directed By: Richard Raaphorst
On the Blu-ray: It’s got a “Making of…” featurette, and quick clips of the zombots so you don’t have to re-find them on the Blu-ray.

Remember the movie “Edward Scissorhands?” You know the movie, with Johnny Depp playing Edward, and he has scissors for hands. Remember how Edward was nice, tried to be good, and all-around tried to help people? Remember how you secretly thought, “I wish Edward was a bad-ass, and would go around killing people with those hands!” Okay, maybe you didn’t wish that, but all I could think about during “Frankenstein’s Army” was that this movie has taken the concept of “scissors as hands” to an entirely new level.

It’s the end of World War II and a group of Russian solders are making their way through Germany when they stumble upon a decimated village. In their investigating further they begin to come across monsters, “zombots” as it would be, looking part human with industrial objects for body parts, i.e. drills, machetes, propellers, and just, well, the most bizarre killing machines one can imagine.

Further stumbling by our “documentarian” (the movie is shot as a “found footage” film) leads us to the lab of Viktor, who, it seems, has come across Dr. Victor Frankenstein’s journals, has found out how to meld soldiers with machines, and has been ordered by Hitler to make an army of killing zombots. We learn how Viktor does it (turns out you don’t really need to be delicate for brain surgery after all), and all along the way gruesomeness is encountered as the zombots are made for one thing, and one thing only, and that’s for killing, well, all except the cute, little one with a teddy bear attached to a woman’s head, a.k.a., Teddy Bear Woman.

Here’s the thing. I loved the concept of the movie, the campiness of the idea, and the potential for gruesome fighting scenes, but somewhere things seemed to get sidetracked. First there is the fact that the setup in getting to the actual zombots seems to take forever, which isn’t good for a movie that’s only 84 minutes long. There’s a lot of the soldiers trudging through the countryside, finding the village, and finally getting to the decimation of the soldiers. Also, and maybe it’s because I’m not a fan of “found footage” kinds of films, you know, those movies like “The Blair Witch Project” where someone finds a movie camera with footage of something bad that happens, but the jittery nature of the movie really annoyed me, and I also felt the movie could have benefitted so much more from a real camera shoot, allowing us to get a true “picture” of the twisted nature of the army of killing zombots. Lastly, and I know this is just a weird technicality on my part, but it seemed like the soldiers sure seemed to have an endless supply of bullets as they were trying to kill the zombots, especially with this being World War II weaponry.

The thing that saved the movie, though, is the utter campiness of the film, with the zombots being awesome, and me just wishing there were more of them, or maybe a scene out in the open with a squadron of these killing “machines” wiping out a squadron of lowly troops, but alas, most of the fun of the movie takes place in the dungeons and labs of Viktor.

For me if they lost the “found footage” concept, and had a full-on battle, this could have been an easy 5 star movie, but in the end I was nearly bored for the first third, and wishing for more for the rest of the film. I would leave the movie at around 2 stars, but the zombots are worth about a star and a half so I’ll end up at 3 ½ stars. I guess I just finished the movie wanting more.

The Blu-ray has a “Making of…” feature, which is nice and all but would mostly be for the uber-fan, and I was disappointed in the “Creature Spots” feature which was just short clips from the actual film of some of the creatures, i.e., Propellerhead and Teddy Bear Woman, and no real insight into the creatures or design of them. I’m sure there were some budgetary constraints, but maybe a little more than just a quick film clip of the zombot would have been nice.

That’s it for this one! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!