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Australia 1997
Directed by
Craig Lahiff
99 minutes
Rated MA

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Heaven's Burning

There are some movies that make one ask "what were they thinking?". Heaven's Burning is one such movie. The only explanation I can think of is that writer, Louis Nowra, had in mind a genre-bending, semi-spoof chase movie (some of the dialogue is surely too clichéd to be taken at face value and why else would you call your main protagonist Colin?) but director Lahiff filmed it as a straight adventure drama.

The outcome is a mish-mash that defies credulity - after a botched bank robbery blood-thirsty Afghanis (with a computer-hacking daughter) and a crazed killer Japanese salary-man (Kenji Isomura) pursue the latter's provocatively-clad life-crisis-experiencing wife (Yûki Kudô) and her protector, the aforesaid Colin(an impeturbable Russell Crowe in sideburns) arriving at a climax, to the strains of The BeeGees and Wagner, thatis an orgy of kitsch and that puts the ending of Duel In The Sun to shame.

Yes, it all sounds like an extended in-joke but if so it is a peculiarly self-humiliating one, like a handicapped comedian who throws himself off the stage in order to get the laughs that his jokes do not (wait till former Men At Work lead singer, Colin Hay, makes his appearance and you'll see the relevance of this). The acting is quite awful with Kudô outstanding in this respect and Isomura and Crowe not far behind. Only Ray Barrett's realistic performance as Crowe's dad gives respite to the nonsense and bad acting although Isomura is brought in to end that. This is not in the so-bad-it's-good category but if you're in a perverse mood you shouldn't go past it.

 

 

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