Viktorija Panovaite
Movie Java heat - doesn't give honor for Indonesia

Movie Java heat – doesn’t give honor for Indonesia

Yesterday I saw an  action movie “Java heat”. Usually I’m not interested in such movies but I was curious to see how Yogyakarta will be shown in this movie. Because it was mainly filming in Yogyakarta and Central Java island.

And I was totally disappointed!

  • 1st because of director Conor Allyn.
  • 2nd because of Indonesian people who after reading storyline approved film shooting in Indonesia.
  • 3rd because of Indonesian actors who were selected for the movie and accepted the offer.
  • 4th because of people who left positive reviews about this movie.


Director who lived in Indonesia almost 5 years (he filmed more movies related with Indonesia) even don’t know (didn’t pay attention) in things which were shown like untruth:

  • Vesak day was shown like celebration for the privileges people: parade with elephants, luxury participants clothes, big tents with furniture inside, like for kings.
  • Showing Muslim guy preparing Christian friend for burial in a mosque?
  • Showing Muslims like killers, he didn’t took just Indonesian people, he exactly choose Indonesian Muslims.

Indonesian people who approved the movie:

  • Accepted to show Indonesian Muslims like terrorists, using Allah name like a reason to kill. After such movies, how people can think that Muslims are not terrorists?
  • Allowed in Borobudur temple jumping through ruins, shooting there and etc. I can’t understand how they got permission to film there. A place of such peace being used as the backdrop for gun play. When at the same time they are making campaigns to educate visitors not to climb on the ruins and etc.
  • Showing Chinese people like prostitution promoter. Even how they allowed to show, that in Muslim country they even have elite prostitutes and it’s possible easy to “order”?
  • Accepted to show that foreigners with big money amount can do whatever they want in Indonesia, even to buy historical Javanese relic or use child sex abuse of boys?

Indonesian actors:

  • I don’t understand how they accept to represent their nation like terrorists?

And people who left review like “Java Heat seemed to be the embodiment of slick collaboration between Western and Eastern cultures that try to give a different perspective on Indonesia.” and etc. I think don’t understand how this movie represent Indonesia.

You think I react too sensitive? It’s just a movie?

But this movie shows and approves almost everything that Indonesian people try to dispose. So how the world can understand Indonesians? In one hand, years by years Indonesians trying to show themselves different from stereotypes about them. But in another hand they approves to film a movie about all Indonesian stereotypes. For what? Because of good money? Does money means everything, even to humiliate the nation?

I’m afraid even to think how director presents Indonesia in other his movies.

I’m not against to show reality, I’m against to show untruth.

In one interview director said that he wanted to show a beauty of Indonesia. For me this movie is very strange understanding of beauty.

By the way, this movie had a lot of attention from international press but only because of 2 famous actors Mickey Rourke and “Twilight” actor Kellan Lutz.

Some reviews about the movie, that I don’t understand. How people see only these things:
Resty Woro Yuniar of Wall Street Journal: Southeast Asia gave the film three and a half stars out of 5, writing “while the plot is predictable, the movie does give a viewer a good feel [Indonesia]” and notes “the movie does a fairly good job of capturing Indonesian traditions.”

Jeff Bounds from Dallas Business Journal noted that the “lighting, the special effects, and the cinematography” looked like it came straight out of Hollywood rather than Indonesia.

Andrew Skeates from Blueprint: Review gives it 3 out of 5 stars and notes that it “delivers its fair share of bone crunching and bullet riddled action scenes. From an extended chase through the back alleys of Java (which features several painful looking motorcycle stunts) to several hard hitting shootouts and a particularly memorable bit with a rocket launcher, Java Heat dishes out some thrilling action beats which have a distinctive old school feel about them.”

Also all reviews seams talking only about screening, acting but what about value that the movie brings?

Couple of the different reviews:
Los Angeles Time
New York Times

As well, I couldn’t even imagine that this movie was screened in film festivals: at the Dallas International Film Festival on April 4, 2013, then at the Taormina Film Fest on June 15–22.

Really I started to think that world goes in some wrong direction or maybe my world is a bit different?

And here is Indonesian people reviews that shows directors mistakes (in Indonesian language, so I will just copy/paste some parts)

Evania Putri Rifyana

<…>there are some scenes that are also considered sufficient to tickle the eyes of viewers who pay close attention. One was when a man who acted as perpetrators of explosions, complete with traditional Javanese dress, casually walked amid the crowd by using a vest containing a bomb that had been left open, but nobody noticed.

Not only that, in one scene traveling entourage envoy Admiral US Navy after the pick Jake, played by Kellan Lutz foreign players, which will aim to Airport also bring a question mark. How could travel to Yogyakarta Adisucipto airport through the streets of small fields and there are directions “Airport” by the way? Yes, maybe it was just a ploy directed to expedite the storyline. But less is considered appropriate to imagine the real situation. On the other hand in the same scene, visible unidentified female figure, dressed in red with long hair tasseled horses off the bike and come to be one of the teams that confront the mysterious journey of the US Navy and his entourage Jake. He acted like a hero Tomb Raider with the gun that fired towards the car entourage, then go just disappeared and did not reappear in the next scene. Not known who she was and what the purpose of the use of female characters in the masculine scene? Is that one form of break-feminist image of women? Or just as a “sweetener” deliberately artificial served to add to the entertainment scene in the midst of a thrilling passion?

Another oddity is also seen in one scene when the character Jake wants to find information about female with tiger tattoo. Jake looks down from a orange three-wheeled vehicle. “Bajaj” is becoming a common vehicle that is identical to the icon of the capital Jakarta, is shown as being part of urban transportation in Yogyakarta. It’s already clear, Bajaj is not used public transportation in Yogyakarta and none at all in DIY.

From all of that, there is the most important thing is not spared from this movie, that is how shown life in Kraton. Peak seen in some scenes stories, the palace courtiers successfully boycotted by the central character an American named Malik, played by Mickey Rourke. Exactly like scenes in Hollywood action movies, with typical Javanese clothes. The courtiers were armed with sophisticated asset rob the palace relics which are kept in the bank, driving a black van in the style of high-profile agent whose section side of the car there is a symbol that looks like the epitome Ngayogyakarta Palace, although the color and text are deliberately differentiated.<…>


<…>practically from beginning to the end has been shown negatively about Islam and Muslims. Instead of showing how tolerant Muslims are, they show opposite.<…>

<…>Hashim, a police lieutenant, has mark on his clothes “Detachment 88”, also in the side of police car marked the “Densus 88”, something strange and ridiculous. Because in reality members of Detachment 88 don’t want to publicize themselves in community<…>


P.S. In my opinion, not to worth spend more than 1 and a half hour to watch this movie :)

If you saw this movie, what do you honestly think about it (not counting “exotic” places and famous actors)?

You might also like to read these:

Indonesian discoveries
What story hides Vesak day lanterns?
Indonesian holidays


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