VOD film review: The Hurricane Heist
Actual common sense4
Ivan Radford | On 06, Apr 2018Reading time: 3 mins
Director: Rob Cohen
Cast: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace
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“Did they teach you that in PhD school?” asks Will (Toby Kebbell) halfway through The Hurricane Heist. A film about – you guessed it – a hurricane heist, there are no academic prizes for guessing that the script is far from PhD material.
Will is a stormchaser, the kind of profession that was beloved by such 90s blockbusters as Twister, with a tragic backstory that caused him to lose the person he loved (his father), after a tornado hit their home, leaving him and his brother orphans. Casey (Maggie Grace) is an ATF agent, with a tragic backstory that caused her to lose the person she loved (her trooper colleague), after she made the wrong call on a former mission. We know these things because they’re subtly conveyed by the script explicitly spelling them out for us. And so it’s little surprise that these tortured souls should team up to thwart a sinister heist, overcoming their tragic backstories and saving people’s lives in the process. In a hurricane.
The heist in question? That would be the seige of a treasury depot, just outside the town of Gulfport, Alabama, where dollar bills are regularly shipped to be shredded. Spying an opportunity, though, a bunch of hackers infiltrate the building, aiming to walk away with $600 million cash. In a hurricane.
Fortunately, Casey is in the building when the heist kicks off – just as a Category 5 whirlwind bears down upon the town. Bringing Will into the fray, the resulting collision of contrived silliness is, without a doubt, complete and utter nonsense. Said nonsense reaches deafening levels when Will’s estranged brother, Breeze (yes, really), enters the scene, paving the way for a sentimental family reunion at the same time as shootouts, fist fights and hostage negotiations. In a hurricane.
The film, to its credit, is all too aware of how stupid it all is, stuffing every frame with dialogue that’s entertainingly bad. (“Why have you got no bullets?” asks Will at one point, as Casey stops firing. “Because I shot them all,” comes the obvious reply.) The cast are impressively game, delivering every over-the-top exchange with straight faces – Kebbell, an amazing actor who’s had bad luck with roles in recent years, sells a credible enough American accent to literally ground a film that’s just waiting to blow away in a hail of stupidity. He quips, he sighs, he climbs up ladders and he drives his storm-chasing vehicle (called “The Dominator”) with real leading man charisma. In a hurricane.
But the real secret to The Hurricane Heist’s deliriously improbable success is director Rob Cohen, who manages to balance out the bad writing and two-dimensional characters with some genuinely impressive action sequences. It’s a thin line between so-bad-it’s-good and so-bad-it’s-terrible, but where the recent Geostorm threw away its one good set piece early on and descended into unconvincing CGI, Cohen has enough practical effects on hand to make the digital trickery effective. And, crucially, he saves his best for last: a rollicking chase between three gigantic trucks through the eye of the storm, which sees people moving between vehicles and shunting each other off the road. In a hurricane.
It’s the kind of sign-off that suggests the director, who made the first The Fast and the Furious film, would still be at home at the helm of that franchise, which has gone so far down the road of ridiculousness that a tornado is surely the only logical next step. Throw in Ben Cross as a scenery-chewing sheriff and you have yourself the kind of trashy blockbuster that’s ideal for a Friday night in with a pizza (a Sky Cinema Original, this is released online on the same day it hits cinemas). It’s a heist. In a hurricane. What more do you want?