WTF ASIA 82: Jakarta (2000)

Apparently, the notion of calling dibs does not exist in the world of bank robbers.

Jakarta

Available…online. Approximately 90 minutes.

Two men and a woman make their way through the sewers to an area by a bank vault and start making a big hole. Meanwhile (I will be using the word “meanwhile” a lot) two other men purchase a pistol from a guy to use in a bank robbery, refuse to pay then and there, and then shoot him when he complains.

Jakarta 01

That morning, the bank is about to open, but man from the first group with the dye-blond hair has made it into the vault. Meanwhile…the vice president of the bank (well, the son of the president) is about to go into the vault and take out $3 million, figuring that no one would suspect him of stealing from his own bank. He goes in to see the blond robber still in there. The VP pulls out a revolver, hits the blond guy with it, and then kicks him a few times for good measure as his two co-conspirators in the sewer start to panic. A security guard joins in on the beating and then takes him out of the vault as the VP drops the blond the revolver in the desk of one of his bank tellers, who is his co-conspirator. As the security guard puts cuffs on the blond robber, the bank teller attaches the other half of the cuff to the VP’s wrist, saying that the robber might run.

Jakarta 02

Suddenly, the other pair of robbers come in, dressed as cops. No one seems to realize that they are not cops, despite the fact that one of them is brandishing a large knife and they are yelling at everyone to get down. They take both the blond robber and the VP, whom they say is the key witness. The bank teller drags the blond robber’s bag of money back to her desk. Meanwhile, the blond robber’s two partners make their way out of the sewer only to find that their stolen van that had two corpses in it is missing.

Jakarta 03

The bank is in chaos, as the VP has the one key to the vault and no one can access their money. The blond robber’s partners, who call him Blue, still believe him to be captured by the police. The woman decides that they should split up in case he does talk, but the man argues that Blue knows them only by their aliases of Red and White. Red says that Blue does know, because she told him. White figures that she had been sleeping with Blue…she had been sleeping with both of them. With that revelation, she walks away. White tries to call up some of his criminal buddies to do…something…but he decides to steal a taxi instead.

Jakarta 04

The VP and…Blue…find themselves no longer cuffed together, but tied up in the hideout of the…not cops. They try to untie each other, but are too busy bickering to do it before the not cops come in, threaten them with the knife, and then beat on them with a plank of wood. They discuss what to do with their hostages, recalling their severe assault on some guy who tried to thwart a previous bank robbery. They decide to kill their two present hostages until the VP says that he is the VP of the bank. They then decide to keep him alive in order to hold him for ransom…and still kill Blue.

Jakarta 05

I should probably stop here, because the plot twists start coming hard and fast.

 

So, the first question might be why this film is called Jakarta, given that it does not take place in Jakarta. Well, there is a reason for it…not necessarily a very good one, but a reason, nonetheless. And if you can accept that rather silly reason to have Jakarta be the title of this movie, then you can probably accept this movie. To be sure, this is a silly little flick with a convoluted story that is full of improbable twists. It is sort of along the lines of all of those too-cool crime movies in the late-nineties, though this is rather deliberately inconsequential and a lot goofier than it is pretentious. One might get this impression even before the plot starts falling on top of itself, but much of the fun of the movie is actually watching the story unravel, taking what was already a complicated story into overdrive. Some movies seem to do this just to pile on plot twists in lieu of having an actual story, with little bearing to what is or was on screen. I believe, however, that the near incessant twisting of the plot works here. Now, there is a question regarding how much each character knew and when, particularly one instance involving a gun. Still, the experience of this movie is in the ride, not in the understanding of every detail. Whether deliberate or not, the movie seems to dive into parody during the second half of the movie.

Jakarta 06

This is mostly a light-hearted comedy more than a crime flick, though some of the comedic elements skirt on dark comedy without quite going over. I suppose that some of the movie may seem darkly comedic during initial viewing, but take on a different tone upon a second viewing, though one scene in particular is still kind of bleakly humorous. Another scene…may have meant to be emotional, but I got the impression that it was merely meant to be a satire of how many South Korean movies have to have a crying scene. Either way, that scene made me laugh really hard the first time I saw it, if only due to the juxtaposition of the crying with the other stuff that was happening in the scene.

Jakarta 07

This is a movie that I would recommend watching at least twice, if only to catch some things that you might have missed the first time around. On the other hand, if you simply want to sit back for ninety minutes and up in a silly little piece of entertainment, then once might be enough. But, then again, if you liked it as much as I do, then once is not enough.

 

WTF ASIA 83: Barah Aana (India: 2009, approx. 97 minutes)

Wikipedia

Available in AustraliaCanadathe United Kingdomthe United States, and maybe some other countries.

 

WTF ASIA 84:  Japanese Summer: Double Suicide (Japan: 1967, approx. 99 minutes)

Wikipedia

Available in Canadathe United States, and maybe some other countries.