Saturday, April 8, 2017


   Sizzling like a grimy, lurid, 10¢ paperback come to life- Jakarta is the cinematic equivalent of airport literature- soaked to the bone in noir-like atmosphere, sex appeal, and violence. The lead actor, Christopher Noth, looks serviceable as a clean cut 'government agent' and as a heartbroken vagabond on the run from his former superiors. The femme fatale is drop dead gorgeous and the actress in the role turns in a surprisingly good performance. What's not to love?

    At times the movie seems fondly obsessed with it's eponymous locale, and at other times it abruptly swerves into stereotypes and cliches- whenever it's most convenient of course. The locals are portrayed as spiritual and even mystical people, but rarely are they ever given much character or personality beyond food cart owners or rickshaw drivers and the like. The villain of the piece is almost a non-entity in the movie as he's not given much to do besides making a few Bond Villain-esque threats and showing up for the requisite climactic showdown.

   I couldn't help but fall in love with this movie though. Its entertainment value is very high as the hero gets into all kinds of trouble and at a decent pace too. Footchases, car chases, shootouts, back alley brawls, and a glorious amount of explosions. But the copious amount of action never distracts from the movie's roots. Jakarta is awash in vibrant colors, smoky nightclubs, passionate love scenes, dimly lit hotel rooms, and shady gangster types. It's the best kind of trash and my favorite kind of sleaze.

   Jakarta has it's fair share of flaws but it's a persistently entertaining gem that deserves to discovered by genre fans everywhere. It's actually staggering how obscure this movie is, and how underrated it is by the few that seem to have seen it. So much fun and so many lurid thrills packed into this little flick. Either way, Jakarta might not be worth seeking out- but stumbling across it online for a few bucks on eBay, and you've got yourself a nice little find. I paid more than the average joe might for my copy on VHS, but I feel like it was worth every penny.

I also couldn't help but notice that both Bad Boys 2 and Rush Hour 2 ripped off scenes from this movie... Yep.

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