There’s a long history of Hollywood plundering Asian action stars for their own, from Bruce Lee to Jay Chou, but aside from the occasional exception (who could forget Paul Rudd in “Gen-Y Cops?” Answer: everyone), the exchange rarely works the other way. But with investment from China and elsewhere becoming more and more important, the balance is starting to tip a little. Kevin Spacey is starring in Chinese picture “Inseparable” and Christian Bale took the lead in Zhang Yimou‘s “The Flowers Of War,” while Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling are heading East for the Bangkok-set “Only God Forgives.”
And now two more are continuing the trend, as a press release from Margate House Films reveals that Oscar-nominee Mickey Rourke and “Twilight” star Kellan Lutz, who are about to appear together in the swords-and-sandals epic “Immortals,” are starring in “Java Heat,” a South-East Asia-set action-thriller from the Indonesia-based company.
The film is written and directed by Conor Allyn, who wrote the “Red & White” trilogy, some of the most successful films ever in Indonesia, as well as directing the second and third installments, “Blood of Eagles” and “Hearts of Freedom,” and filming began on September 22nd. The plot doesn’t suggest anything particularly mold-breaking, as you can see from the official synopsis:
At a time when relations between the West and Islam are hot topics , Java Heat stars Lutz as Jake, a reckless tough guy who – like America after 9/11 — is bent on vengeance against Islamic terrorists, but finds the world a more complicated place than he can solve with violence alone. Lost in the religious and cultural shock of the palaces, mosques, temples, subterranean labyrinths and red-light districts of Southeast Asia’s criminal underworld, Jake must ally with a cerebral, suspicious Muslim detective. Together they play a cat-and-mouse game against a decadent jewel thief, Malik (Mickey Rourke), who masterminds bombings and kidnappings to collect art, jewels, even little boys and a princess – all in a desperate search for the faded beauty of his own lost youth.
Rourke’s career continues to puzzle us somewhat: having been given a chance at a true comeback, and bagging a villainous role in a blockbuster superhero sequel, he seems to have reverted to the kind of easy paycheck that he was doing before Robert Rodriguez and Darren Aronofsky brought him back from the abyss. It is, however, about what we expect from Lutz. Maybe we’re being unfair, but we suspect that the next time we hear about this movie, it’ll be catching it at 4am on a Sunday morning on Starz, sometime in 2014.