“Heist” | Movie Review

Grade (C+)

A solid cast and a relatively decent plot make this cliché-ridden film pass the time, although it could have been much better.

“HEIST” is an action-thriller starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Vaughn, a card dealer at riverboat casino owned by the ruthless man known as The Pope played by Robert De Niro. Vaughn’s daughter is in the hospital in need of a transplant, and unable to pay the mounting medical bills, he decides to team with a casino security guard played by Dave Bautista to plan a robbery of the casino. If he can get out alive Vaughn will use the money to save his daughters life.

This film was a classic example of what I like to call a fast-food action film. You can go to a sit-down restaurant and have a hamburger with prime, ground Angus beef, crisp leaf lettuce, and a whole wheat bun, it will be excellent and you will savor every bite. Or you can go to say, Carl’s Jr. and grab a six-dollar burger with a processed bun, a thick slice of iceberg lettuce that it pretty much all stem and a frozen patty that consists of who knows what. That burger was like this film, it will pass the time, curb the appetite and satisfy you for the most part given your expectations are low, but in no way is it as good as that so-called ‘gourmet burger’.

The script had all the main plot points and a solid twist but it was the dialogue and material between these points that kept many of the moments from landing with any solid impact. There were a couple of good scenes but the overall story felt rushed, the connection to the characters thin, and dialogue that failed to build the motivation behind the character actions. It was a fast paced film and there were not many lulls, but there was also a great lack of depth to the entire project as a whole.

The plot of a man trying to save his sick daughter and having no choice but to commit this robbery was a strong enough ploy to fuel the film but it was glossed over too much to hit the emotional connection it wanted to. Instead the script followed many cliche moments to conveniently get the script to go where it wanted and it hindered the enjoyment. It tried to be a quick action romp but the subject matter was meant for a solid well-written crime-thriller and had the film took itself more serious and added depth it could have been such.

On the good side the cast made the most of the material they had to work with. These days with De Niro attached to a smaller release project, simply showing up on the movie poster and being listed in the cast headliners, can still result in him getting only a couple scenes in a glorified cameo. Luckily his role in this one was slightly expanded, giving him a handful of scenes to work with and for the most part he was pretty good, nothing like his past excellence but easily serviceable. Dave Bautista was decent but the writing for his character really only had him screaming at people with a gun in his hand resulting in nothing memorable.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s role was the one the film centered on and his performance was pretty good. He conveyed the needed emotions of a grieving father and man with a lack of options. Morgan’s performance was the strongest in the film as his character was given the most amount of depth, regardless of even it being thin and generic. You can at least connect to his character if you choose to, and there is enough interest built to see how he will fair as the story closes.

While it would be deemed an action film this was clearly more of a thriller on premise alone, and there was really not that much true action in the entire movie. What action the script had was not well shot, highly over edited and the shaky cam made even simple action scenes a blurred mess. As I watched I just kept thinking that the script should have been beefed up to make a solid, gripping crime-thriller that would result it much more compelling cinema.

The saving grace was a familiar cast that helped carry the pace along much more than the material managed to do. This turned out to be a good example of a film that could have been much better had the script been given a couple rewrites. It would have added much more meat to the story to build the connections between the characters and to strengthen some of the dynamics. It would have also made the story much more plausible instead of the convenient feel it gave off.

Overall “Heist” was a passable movie but far from memorable. In the end it wasted the cast with very elementary writing and many good ideas that were not fully fleshed out making the entire film seem rushed. There were some enjoyable scenes and it did not turn out to be horrible, but it was also not very memorable, showing that often a good story can be wasted with lack of execution.

– Starring –

Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano, Kate Bosworth, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Morris Chestnut, D.B. Sweeney, Summer Altice, Lydia Hull

– Directed By –

Scott Mann

Time: 93 min

Alternate Title: “Bus 657”

MPAA Rating: R (For violence, pervasive language and some sexual content)