Bullet Points: Heatstroke
If you are in the mood to light up an e-cigarette and watch a Stephen Dorff action flick… then Heatstroke is NOT the movie for you.
If you are in the mood to watch an action movie that could be mistaken for an original movie airing on a basic cable network… then Heatstroke IS the movie for you.
- Animal Planet: If you were channel surfing late one night and came across Heatstroke as the movie was just starting you may believe you had stumbled upon an Animal Planet original film. Stephen Dorff plays Paul, a college professor who has spent his career researching hyena. Paul knows all about hyenas and shares interesting facts about them like how all female hyenas have a pseudo-penis. Paul and his girlfriend Tally (played by Svetlana Metkina) are planning a trip to Africa so Paul can get more hyena time. But then Paul’s ex-wife Miriam calls and drops a bombshell… their 13 year old daughter Josie (Maisie Williams) recently was out with a bunch of friends and they got picked up by the cops for having marijuana and some pills. Miriam wants Paul to take Josie on the trip, so Josie can spend more time with her father and get her away from her bad influence friends.
- Hallmark Channel: If you were channel surfing late one night and came across Heatstroke about 20 minutes in you may believe you had stumbled upon a Hallmark Movie. There’s Paul, trying to do the right thing and bond with his daughter and then there’s the tension between Josie and dad’s new girlfriend Tally. And if you are a true Hallmark aficionado you would be betting if by the end of the movie that Josie was Tally’s maid of honor for the big wedding finale… but things take a very un-Hallmark like turn, when after a few days of misery Paul decides Josie needs to go home to her mother, Tally stays behind at the camp so Paul can get some quality time in with Josie, but on their way to the airport in Johannesburg, Paul gets shot in the head by some gun runners and Josie is left for dead in the desert.
- Lifetime: Meanwhile back at the camp, those damn hyenas broke into the supply tent where Paul and Tally were staying, they ate most of the food, dumped most of the water and even managed to destroy the satellite phone. Tally takes off across the desert to get more water for the camp at the nearest watering hole. Along the way she finds a dead Paul and a scared Josie. Now Tally makes it her mission to get Josie safely back home, which is no easy task since they are in the middle of the African desert and the guys who killed Paul are still out there as is their boss Mallick (played by frequent movie bad guy Peter Stormare). If you were channel surfing late one night and caught Heatstroke at this point, you may believe you had stumbled upon a Lifetime movie with a strong female lead who could hold her own in extreme circumstances. I will hand it to Heatstroke, they kept Tally’s character rooted in reality and didn’t turn her into Rambo. She already had the backstory that she was a rescue worker who would do disaster relief work so it wasn’t like she was a business woman, a supermodel or a housewife who suddenly was able to survive in adverse conditions. And her greatest weapon was outsmarting her foes, so it was brains over brawn and not her becoming a one woman army.
Heatstroke would fall in my “one and done” classification because it has a rewatchability factor of zero. But with that said I don’t regret checking out Heatstroke and I would not deter any one out there from checking it out.
I am also not going to deter anyone from checking out my bonus Heatstroke Bullet Points, in fact I highly encourage it…
- Alternate Tagline: Come for the Dorff. Stay for the Metkina.
- Based On: The movie was based on a novel written by Hannah Nyala titled “Leave No Trace”.
- I Disagree: Paul makes the bold statement that observing hyenas is better than any show on television. Obviously he never watched Sanford & Son.
- If You Ever: …want to have kids, you may not want to watch Heatstroke. Josie is a brat that is obsessed with her iPad and being around her is not a pleasant experience. So while you may be dreaming of that bouncing baby boy or girl, the harsh reality that they could grow up to be a teenager like Josie may change your plans.
- Was That Necessary?: The guys who killed Paul end up coming back to the scene of the crime to bury Paul’s body. But before they bury him, they tie his corpse up to the back of their truck and drag him around for a while. Not only did that seem pointless it also reminded me of a scene from Fighting Spirit and I don’t need to be reminded of that garbage.