The Hurricane Heist Mar 11, 2018 20:00:19 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Mar 11, 2018 20:00:19 GMT -5
The Hurricane Heist (2018)
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Directed by: Rob Cohen
$600 million stolen at 600 mph.
I intended to be a defender of The Hurricane Heist upon seeing its ridiculous trailer and held out even in the midst of negative reviews that it would be a film worth defending. Even after seeing it, I harbor the belief that it's a concept that could've merited some excitement and a quality finished product. Alas, the filmmakers, namely screenwriters Jeff Dixon and Scott Windhauser, behind the wildly dopey caper have made one of the most fatal mistakes they could've made with the film's premise and that's take it seriously.
The concept of a group of misfit hackers trying to lift $600 million from a U.S. Treasury facility amidst a Category 5 hurricane is almost impossible to sell on a realism level, but the filmmakers have nonetheless tried their hardest to make a credible crime-thriller out of the least credible material imaginable. In their efforts, they've made a film that will disappoint those expecting a "so bad, it's good" affair, those hoping for nonstop action, and the few and far between thinking they're in for an involving heist movie. The Hurricane Heist underwhelms on all levels, even those that hoped the film would be competently bad.
The film begins by detailing the childhood trauma endured by Will and Breeze, two young boys from Alabama, who saw their father killed by the destructive forces of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Many years later, the two are grown up, with Will (Toby Kebbell) working as a meteorologist and Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) running a repair-shop in their hometown of Gulfport. We catch up with them as they are in the middle of preparing for another storm, Hurricane Tammy, which grows from a low-grade tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane in record-time. While Will is on the road trying to get home to Breeze in time, a group of armed assailants are plotting to steal over $600 million from a treasury office in Alabama. The old money is due to be shredded, but Perkins (Ralph Ineson), an employee of the Treasury department, has other plans; plans he nonetheless devised around the catastrophic storm. They look to be thwarted by Casey (Maggie Grace), a treasury agent now burned after working alongside him for many months, who later teams up with Will and Breeze.
As the film goes on, the storm worsens, and eventually becomes an indeterminable wall of gray waves and garbage as it draws closer and closer to a trio of trucks looking to make off with the money on a main-stretch of Alabama roadway. I mention this third-act sequence because it's what The Hurricane Heist should've been all along. A nonstop thrill-ride of mayhem with a great deal of situational suspense; maybe throw in the appropriate REO Speedwagon or Scorpions songs in for a deliciously corny montage. Instead, $35 million is pumped into what is one of the most atrociously ugly spectacles in recent memory, resembling the likes of an Asylum production or a SyFy movie. Both comparisons indirectly opine where the film should've ended up: on a store's DVD rack or on a platform where people didn't have to make a special trip to see it.
The Hurricane Heist is not only taken down several notches thanks to its terrible acting, namely from Kebbell and Kwanten, who are awkward screen-presences throughout, but by the lead-footed way it handles the main heist. Dixon and Windhauser seem to think we care about Perkins' corruption and the minute details of his operation, or find that Will and Breeze are interesting enough to warrant their backstory. It's as if they thought we wanted to watch aimless shootouts conducted in the rain, with the soggy and saturated cinematography casting a drab gray tone over the entirety of the film, making it about as visually captivating as wet cement. Cinematographer Shelly Johnson's color palette is so wretched in the way it renders even the most discernible actions of its characters, such as shooting a gun or running for cover, all but indistinguishable. On a technical side, the violations of the shot-reverse-shot rule when the gunplay unfolds are so egregious you wonder if the film went through a shredder before being finalized.
The film was directed by Rob Cohen, the same man who brought the Fast and the Furious franchise to life with the first film back in 2001 as well as the hyper-stylized Vin Diesel vehicle xXx a year later. Any craft he retained from his efforts in the early-2000s is lost under a heap of poorly conceived CGI and some downright unforgivable choices in scene-staging, many of which feeling either off or incomplete in some fashion. This is the kind of film you find yourself thinking about after seeing it in the worst way, recalling moments of peril where the logic of the situation comes into your mind long before any recollection of how you felt during those scenes. Cohen's direction should've at least been the silver-lining, but instead, it's as indistinguishable as the final product; another casualty of the film that sits alongside the core concept.
I'm going to call for something I've never called for in a review, and that is for The Hurricane Heist to be remade down the road. This is a premise that shouldn't go out with the kind of ineptitude brought to it because a series of studio executives and shot-callers completely lacked a sense of humor when handling the material. Perhaps a formula ala Mad Max: Fury Road could work, where the film would be a lengthy action sequence with the immensity of the hurricane lurking in the background, once again, an idea that comes at the conclusion reminding you what the film might've been. Maybe someone like Steven Quale, who realized disaster so effectively in his tornado flick Into the Storm, could make the material here a real visual treat. Almost anything would be better and more laudable than what was presented in Cohen's film, the cinematic equivalent of a firework show in a hurricane.
NOTE: Listen to my review of The Hurricane Heist on my radio-show "Sleepless with Steve" on WONC 89.1FM:
Starring: Toby Kebbell, Ryan Kwanten, Ralph Ineson, Maggie Grace, and Melissa Bolona. Directed by: Rob Cohen.