Unlike the first ActionFest presentation, I was actually able to see Java Heat — and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Oh, we’re not talking about a great movie here, but who thought we were? It’s an action picture first and last, and the plot mostly exists to string together — not always coherently — a string of action set-pieces with the requisite explosions. But at that, the film boasts an unusual buddy dynamic between star Kellan Lutz (primarily known for playing Emmett Cullen in the Twilight series) and Ario Bayu as a Muslim policeman he ends up teaming with. It’s a refreshingly different pairing that works nicely against the sleazy villainy of Mickey Rourke at his Mickey Rourke-est. (I swear at one point he’s wearing that seersucker suit from Angel Heart.) But the real surprise is how stylish Conor Allyn’s direction is here. It’s highly influenced by Brian DePalma (I haven’t seen this much use of split-screen in ages), but the influence definitely pays off. For action fans, it’s definitely worth catching.
ActionFest presents Java Heat at Carolina Cinemas Friday, May 17 at 7:30 p.m.