High Heat Review
Feb 6, 2023
Home Movie Reviews High Heat Review: Solid Action & A Good Cast Can’t Save This Film
The cast is full of familiar faces, but even they can’t save High Heat. Though well-constructed, there isn’t anything special about the film.
High Heat means well, but it is not the caliber of movie it aims to be. Director Zach Golden successfully executes his action set pieces, but aside from that has little to offer in the way of visual flare. The bland script penned by James Pedersen has little imagination and thinks it is funnier than it is. The cast is full of familiar faces, but even Don Johnson (Watchmen) can’t save High Heat from itself. Though it is well-constructed, there just isn’t anything special about High Heat.
SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Ana (Olga Kurylenko) is a chef and her husband Ray (Johnson) is her business partner. It’s opening night at their restaurant and while Ray is schmoozing with customers, Ana is stressing over every detail in the kitchen. The couple makes it through the evening, but just when they are about to close shop for the night, Ray’s old friend Dom (Dallas Page) sends a group of people to burn the place to the ground. Ana and Ray must reveal intimate secrets about their pasts if they are going to make it through the night. Ray admits he is in serious debt to Dom and Ana admits she was in the KGB. Ray takes a backseat and watches as his wife hunkers down for an all night shootout.
Related: High Heat Trailer Highlights A Kitchen To Die For [EXCLUSIVE]
Movies that take place in one night usually have an inside track on a solid, if not good, script. When simplifying even the shortest movie down to this formula, the success rate of these films is very high, all things considered. The tone of High Heat is light, but it has aspirations to be more and drops the ball whenever it tries to be dramatic. Even when the jokes are successful, the plot pushes forward in a way that steps on what would otherwise be a good joke.
High Heat’s cardinal sin is trying to turn every funny cameo into a “fully fleshed” character. There is simply no need for it, nor is there any time to achieve this in an 84-minute movie unfolding over the course of one night. Comedian Jackie Long is perhaps the lone example of success in this regard. His character is funny, but not overused. The exact opposite is true of every other performer. Silicon Valley alum Chris Diamantopoulos gives a genuinely comedic performance, but his plot line is extended far past the point of being comedic or interesting. Ironically, all of this is in service to build a John Wick-like world of assassins that fails miserably. And if the intent was to be more of a style-driven jaunt the likes of Ocean’s Eleven, there was neither the gravitas nor the vision to make that happen.
The one truly awesome thing about High Heat is the fight sequences Olga Kurylenko is a part of. The action, unlike the comedy, is used sparingly and only when completely necessary, leaving the viewer wanting more in a good way. Her only real match is the unnamed squadron that lays assault on her restaurant. But even in scenes where she is torturing Long’s character, the two have chemistry, and she delivers in any moment that is driven by action.
All told, interest in High Heat will vary and audience expectation for the film should be low. It has the bones of a one-night action gem, but it never reaches its potential. The cast is not the problem, but the script certainly is. The actors are given too much to do and no time to do it. Golden has the right idea, but the execution fails the film’s aspirations.
More: Bardo, False Chronicle Of A Handful Of Truths Review: Immersive & Lacks Substance
High Heat is in theaters, on demand, and digital December 16. The film is 84 minutes long and rated R for violence and language throughout.
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