The Hurricane Heist (2018) Review

A TERRIBLE MOVIE THAT

BLOWS (HARD)


 

The action genre has become a permanent staple in the cinematic history of filmmaking, stylizing the high-power thrills and adrenaline angst to make for a fast-moving storytelling motion picture. Nestled in that genre is smaller subgenre of action heist features. These particular films showcase id highlight the same basic fundamentals of an action-oriented movies, but also couples the idea of some type of heist-style adventure to add more of a distinct flavor to the narrative experience. This, of course, adds a unique spin with action genre, providing enough thrills, fun, and crazy stunts to make for a creative world of pulling of a job. Such famous feature films within this category, including 1991’s Point Break, 1995’s The Heat, 2000’s Gone in 60 Seconds, 2003’s The Italian Job, 2009’s, The taking of Pelham 123, and 2011’s Fast Five just to name of few. Now, Foresight Unlimited / Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures and director Rob Cohen present the newest addition to the action heist subgenre with the movie The Hurricane Heist. Does this film find a balance between action thrills and dramatic entertainment or does swept up into its own maelstrom of cheesiness?

THE STORY


As category 5 Hurricane Tammy is preparing to crush the small Alabama coastal town of Gulfport, but Treasury Agent Casey Corbyn (Maggie Grace) and Connor Perkins (Ralph Ineson), still have work to do by means of making sure $600 million dollars in old cash is properly destroyed. Unfortunately, their shredder isn’t working, but that doesn’t deter Perkins, who is actually plotting to steal the money with the help from his crew of thieves. While Perkins and his team takeover the treasury, Casey has the vault key, running off to find Breeze Rutledge (Ryan Kwanten), a local electrician who’s recently reunited with his estranged brother, Will Rutledge (Toby Kebbell), a meteorologist who’s trying to get critical information from Tammy to prevent Hurricane disasters. When Breeze is taken by Perkin’s team, Will and Casey speed off to figure out their next move, left with no outside communication and limited firepower to make their assault against Perkins. As Tammy barrels down on the town, all hell breaks loose, setting the stage for a test of responsibility and determination as Casey tries to save the money and Will hopes to rescue his brother.

THE GOOD / THE BAD


Being a fan of movies, these particular movies have been some of my favorite. I did grow up watching a lot of 90s action movies, so finding the action heist movies to my liking, especially during its heyday during the early 90s to mid-00s. Like a lot of movies, the action heist subgenre has produced some palpable / memorable motion pictures, with those models highlighting the best and brightest within the story and action. It’s a balance that must occur by pushing us (the viewers) into a place that take in the action scenes and set pieces that the feature has to offer, but also engage in the story narrative that’s being told. It can be tricky (i.e. push too little and the movie becomes lackluster or push too much and it becomes too ridiculous). Still, the action heist movies have proven to work (if done right). Some of my personal favorites are The Heat, The Italian Job, and Fast Five as well 2017’s Baby Driver (a movie that does offer both crazy action and creative heist maneuvers). Given the allure and fascination of these films, I suspect that action heist movies will be around for quite some time, adding up new elements and new ideas for a new host of moviegoers for each generation.

This brings me back to talking about the movie The Hurricane Heist. To be honest, I really didn’t hear much about this movie. Never really heard much pre-release or any “buzz” about until the film’s trailer dropped in theaters. After viewing the trailer, I thought it was a joke and couldn’t believe that they would make a movie like this. To me (judging from the trailer), it seems like cheesy B-movie that’s settle for more of a throwback 90s action movie than anything to today’s action flicks, but just more stupid and generic. Thus, I ultimately decided to forgo seeing this movie (in theaters) as March was already a busy time for me, with a lot more favorable choices than Hurricane Heist to see (i.e. A Wrinkle in Time, Tomb Raider, I Can Only Imagine, Pacific Rim: Uprising, Ready Player One, etc.) and review. However, after one night of not falling asleep, I decided to rent The Hurricane Heist (via iTunes) to see if my suspicions about this B-rated action feature were. What did think of the movie? Well, to be honest, my suspicions were right on the money (and then some). Despite a few snippets here and there that I liked, The Hurricane Heist is just a downright terrible movie that’s too generic, too noisy, and too stupid to even care about. It attempts big-time action, but only ends up being big-time waste of a feature.

Hurricane Heist is directed by Rob Cohen, whose previous directorial works includes such films like The Fast and the Furious, XXX, and The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor. Given his background into more action-oriented genre flicks, Cohen seemed like a somewhat fit to helm a project like this, catering to the more “action junkies” out there, who crave something that’s big and noisy. To that effect, Cohen succeeds, serving up a flick that’s little on syrupy drama and more on here and now action, guns, and bad guys. To be truth, Cohen sort of embraces the film’s overall “silliness”, which vaguely adds the film’s proceedings in making this surreal scenario work within its roughly 100-minute timeframe. Additionally, the film utilizes the set piece of a hurricane (i.e. a natural disaster) as the main centerpiece problem that’s a difficult position for both good guys and bad guys, providing enough momentum in those particular scenes that showcase the power of mother nature. In the end, Cohen’s endeavor in approaching Hurricane Heist is to make feature that’s a blend of the 1998 action-thriller disaster film Hard Rain and 1996 disaster film Twister, merging those two for a own concoction with Cohen’s stamp of filmmaking.

In terms of technical presentation, Hurricane Heist is just an adequate endeavor. Costumes, set designs, and production layout feel “okay” in how they are presented in the movie, but don’t really pop or do anything to stimulate me to make me applause or mention the team behind the film’s camera. Visual effects are used in the film (i.e. to highlight some of Hurricane Tammy’s fierce weather conditions around the town). However, the CG used for project those images are very “iffy” at times. Yes, I know that the movie was produced with a limited production budget as some visual effects elements are good, but most just end up being pretty shoddy and cheesy as if the movie was made computer graphics program from twelve years ago. I don’t expect it to be “blockbuster” worthy, but a bit more of a decent effort at the visual wizardry would’ve been much better than what was presented in the film’s final cut. Even the film’s cinematography, which is something I usually praise, was pretty “meh” and just felt adequate (nothing really creative or unique in my book). Perhaps the only thing two things that I liked (worth mentioning) were the film editing, which was done by Niven Howie, and the film’s score, which was composed by Lorne Balfe. Both had their merits and were better than the rest of the technical filmmaking aspects of Hurricane Heist. Everything else, was just pretty generic and didn’t really standout, which (to me) didn’t help me liking this movie.

Unfortunately, as you can probably guess, Hurricane Heist is not a great movie (at all) and ultimately (and woefully) fails to deliver on being memorable piece as both an action flick or even as an entertainment in movie escapism. Perhaps the reason for this is that Cohen fails to provide enough directional creativeness in making the film a unique and special motion piece. In a nutshell, Hurricane Heist is rather dull and generic feature that dregs up very commonplace elements that have been done (and done better) from past endeavors. While watching the movie, I felt I was watching bits and pieces from other movies, with Cohen just cobbling ideas together and trying to pass them off as a clean product idea for Hurricane Heist. The film (from onset to conclusion) just screams cheesiness and stupidity, rifled with a sort bland vanilla-ness throughout. Like many out there, cheesy B-rated movies can work to some degree (if done properly). However, Hurricane Heist can’t measure up to that level, offering more loud, noisy, and bombastically scenario in order to drum up some form of entertainment. The end result is something that not really savory as the film, which is mostly hallow, is very much a derivate feature that doesn’t really bring anything new nor interesting.

Additionally, the film’s script, which was penned by Scott Windhauser and Jeff Dixon with a story done by Anthony Fingleton and Carlos Davis, doesn’t help strengthen the movie, it actually hinders more. To be fair, the premise doesn’t call for much beyond what the film’s initial setup. That being said, the story and screenplay are rather clunky throughout the movie, fumbling and stumbling a predictable and formulaic path that comes right down to a humdrum chase sequences towards the climatic piece of the third act. The script (and Cohen) don’t seem to care with how the quality of things proceed in the movie, but rather on the events that propel them. This means that there a series of action events, which are mostly generic and nothing really clever, and zero time to develop characters and their motivations beyond their one-dimensional personas. This all compacts into the movie’s overall entertainment likeability, which cuts deeply into the narrative and makes the feature totally campy, hokey, and forgettable.

It also doesn’t help that the dialogue written for the character is rather dull or poorly written, presenting several scenes with some cringeworthy spoken dialogue to play around with. This (as a result) makes the actors lines terrible along with their performances (more on that below). Again, I wasn’t really expecting much from this movie, but the dialogue is so bland and dull that it really comes off as hokey and (to a point) laughable in such a bad way. I mean, a hurricane is ravishing their town, bad guys are surrounding them, but several of the main characters have time to talk (jokingly) about their love lives and football. This really took me “out” of the movie experience as it’s just lazy and nothing really grand. It makes even worse is that screenplay writers (and perhaps even Cohen himself) believes that the dialogue is clever and cheeky during certain points, but it’s just ridiculous and bad. In conjunction with that idea, the movie tries to had depth the trio of main characters (a past experience between Breeze and Will over their father’s death and a past demotion episode with Casey), but most of this doesn’t go beyond the surface level and really doesn’t get resolve (at any point) during the film’s duration. Speaking of the ending, it’s really pretty “blah” to me, concluding Hurricane Heist in such haphazard and uninspiring way that really left me with such a sour taste in mouth. I mean, I was expecting a 20-minute epilogue sequences of scenes, but it rather ends abruptly; something akin to a cheesy TV movie would end on (if you know what I mean).

Worse still, are some of the production inconsistence that happen towards the film’s ending. Suffice to say (a minor spoiler ahead), the characters (both good and bad) have a chase sequences when the Hurricane Tammy’s eye passes over the town. The problem I have with this scene is that the movie falls to keep up the consistency of the story’s events. What I mean is that, one would expect on the ground (grass / dirt areas, roadways, houses, buildings, cars, etc.) would be drenched and water and many areas to be flooded from the deluge of water that was poured during the hurricane’s maelstrom. That being said, most of areas (seeing the movie during this particular event) are dry as a bone and looks like no hurricane downpour has befallen the area, which really takes me “out” of the movie as it feels really inconsistent with the film’s events. There are several other areas of the movie being inconsistent, but this one grated me during the whole sequence.

Adding another bad layer to this is the film’s cast, which don’t really help bring this movie into a more positive light. Why? Well, for the most part, they all deliver cringeworthy performances, which adds more bad dread to the already dreadfully bad dialogue written for them. Of the main trio of characters actor Ryan Kwanten is probably the notable one in the group as one of the two Rutledge brothers Breeze. Kwanten, known for his roles True Blood, Dead Silence, and Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole, seems to fit, more or less, at home with a picture like this, playing Breeze with the classic southern country-bumpkin bravado he basically crafted when playing Jason Stackhouse from True Blood. There’s not much in Breeze’s persona or complexity character build beyond the surface level of what’s presented at the start, but Kwanten seems like the best fit for Breeze. In truth, he’s actually the character I enjoyed the most and was the most memorable one in the movie. The other two main leads fare less (much less), finding actor Toby Kebbell and actress Maggie Grace dreadfully boring and generic as Will Rutledge (Breeze’s brother) and Treasury Agent Casey Corbyn respectfully. Kebbell, known for his roles in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Warcraft, and Kong: Skull Island, is good actor and is probably the most prominent star of Hurricane Heist, but he just usually just picks such bad movies to appear in. What’s worse is that he gives such a horrible performance in the movie, drumming up a genuinely fake (and annoying) southern accent that he cannot pull off correctly. He just sounds more goofy than sincere. Adding to that, his character isn’t really that important, except being caught up in the film’s events and saying something weather meteorologist technobabble here and there. He’s just thinly written and really doesn’t have much likeable qualities to make a viewer care about Will. Fingleton and Davis even try to wedge a childhood past problem between Breeze and Will, which (in the end) comes up empty handed in both substance and poignancy. As for Grace, known for her roles in Taken, Lost, and Fear the Walking Dead, she (like Kebbell) gives a poorly done performances. Yes, she’s mainly part of the focal point and the driving force to most of Hurricane Heist’s plot, but she totally forgetful and gives only a half-baked characteristic throughout the film. Plus, it doesn’t help that her acting ability (at least in the movie) is horrible, giving Cassie a lifeless and generic personality. In the end, she’s only a machination plot point for the film to use and nothing about is worth caring about, which (again) is a bad thing for the movie’s entertainment value.

Beyond those three, the only other character that stands out is the film’s main antagonist villain (i.e. Connor Perkins), who is played by actor Ralph Ineson. Known for his roles in Game of Thrones, Ready Player One, and The Witch, Ineson has that bad guy vibe throughout the movie (from start to finish), but just comes off as being totally cartoon-ish rather than being villainous. Ineson acting is fine (could’ve been better), but his dialogue is horrible written and (sometimes) a bit badly executed on his part. In short, Ineson’s Perkins kind of sort of fits the super cheesy and terrible vibe of the movie (and not in the good way). The rest of the cast, which is more supporting roles, are too numerous and too paint-by-numbers to even care about. This includes actor Christian Contreras (Halo: Nightfall and Zero Dark Thirty) as Treasury Agent Randy Moreno, actor Ben Cross (Banshee and Star Trek) as Sherriff Jimmy Dixon, actor Jamie Andrew Cutler (Kick-Ass 2 and Lewis and Clark) as Clement Rice, actor Jimmy Walker (Save Me and Call the Midwife) as Clement’s brother Xander Rice, Moyo Akande (Macbeth and 1745) as Perkins’s lover (I really didn’t see it in the movie) as Perkins’s lover Jaqi, actor Ed Birch (Their Finest and Utopia) as computer hacker Fears, and actress Melissa Bolona (Acts of Violence and The Year of Spectacular Men) as Fear’s girlfriend and fellow hacker Sasha Van Dietrich. Personally (and a lot of people will agree with this), most (if not all) are stock-like characters throughout the feature. They may serve the plot in some minor capacity (mostly to push certain parts forward in the movie’s progression), but are what I would consider to be “cannon fodder” for the film’s story, offering up little to no value in terms of importance or memorable performances.

FINAL THOUGHTS


Hurricane Tammy is heading towards Gulfport and the Rutledge brothers suddenly get caught up in plot to stop a heist during this turbulent times in the movie The Hurricane Heist. Director Rob Cohen latest feature sees the return to his over-the-top action roots, presenting a tale of robbers, daring do-gooders, and a mother nature catalyst to make difficult for both sides to achieve their objective goals However, barring a few sequences, the movie itself is riddled with abysmal performances, flat characters (both major and minor ones), lame action sequences, a loosely (and thinly) connected narrative, a predictable formulaic path, dull and laughable dialogue, and just a overall downright stupid and cheesy. To me, this movie was totally horrible. I really didn’t expect much of this movie, but I was expecting something more than what was presented. This movie is totally bad and is hard to take seriously or even fun as an entertainment piece of action fluff. Thus, I would definitely not recommend this movie and would give it my “skip it” stamp of approval. There’s really not much to physically enjoy about this movie, even if you’re a fan of mindless action flicks or even like several members of the cast. If this film was released during the mid-90s, I think it “might have” had a decent chance to cultivate followers (and that’s a big might). However, being released in 2018, The Hurricane Heist emphatically is a horrid film that will unequivocally end up on the bottom of the movie released during the 2018 year. In short, it’s just a lame and awful action movie that’s all noise and nothing more.

1.7 Out of 5 (Skip It)

 

Released On: March 9th, 2018
Reviewed On: June 10th, 2018

Hurricane Heist  is 103 minutes long and is rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence, action, destruction, language, and some suggestive material

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