THE HURRICANE HEIST

When it comes to most schlocky action films, you know exactly what you’re going to get: a whole lot of nothing but stupid ridiculousness. Is it going to be well made stupid ridiculousness, though? That’s the key, but not often the case. You’re obviously not going to get any thematic depth from any of the Fast and the Furious films, but they at least follow the basic rules of screenwriting to keep you entertained and invested. You know who the characters are and their relationships to each other. You know their motivations, their desires, and even get to witness an arc to their characters along the way. Pair all that that with some exhilarating action sequences, silly one-liners, and a decent sense of self-awareness, and you can maybe have yourself a grade A, rollicking good time. Maybe.

In Alabama, a dangerous Category 5 hurricane is approaching, causing a majority of the town to evacuate. For whatever reason, the United States treasury schedules a pickup of $600 million from the mint facility during this intense storm. Unbeknownst to Treasury agent Casey (Maggie Grace), her partner Perkins (Ralph Ineson) has decided to stage a heist for the cash, bringing along a super cool team of hacker robbers for the job. With nowhere else to turn, Casey turns to meteorologist Will (Toby Kebbell) and his deadbeat brother Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) to stop the heist and survive the apparent “largest storm in the history of the world”. Yep, sounds like a plot to a movie with the title The Hurricane Heist, all right.

This is no doubt the worst written film I’ve seen in theaters in quite some time. None of the characters have any characterization that goes beyond the depth of a thimble filled with water. Breeze is a lazy military vet with no goal in life. Casey is an upstanding treasury agent who just wants to do the right thing while doing her job. Perkins wants to rob the mint facility so he can retire. Will wants to… well, I’m not really sure. He kind of just observes the hurricane coming and gets mixed in with the situation. Aside from Perkin’s reason to steal the cash, everything with this film is completely driven by plot, and not by character. Random characters will just turn on each other and take sides without any real reason. Some make incredibly stupid decisions that don’t make any sense. Not to mention there are way too many of them to keep track of.

So, after the laughably bad opening scene that basically rips off Twister, the events are pretty much immediately kicked off, cutting back in forth between our many characters. I was horribly confused during the first act, not knowing who the characters were and what their relationships were to one another. The writing, directing, and editing is awful all across the board, sometimes causing characters to just teleport to a location with no bother to show us how they got there. With a hurricane constantly escalating, you think the film would have some energy to it, but there’s nothing. No intensity, no tension. While he’s never really made a good film, director Rob Cohen at least has a nice eye for scenery and camerawork. Almost the entire film is in grey and blue hues, with clouds and rain constantly blocking out the sky, giving the film a kind of gloomy atmosphere. There are also some really nice looking dolly and crane shots here and there, but it’s mostly kind of flat. 

Speaking of flat, all of the attempts at humor fall flat on its face. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t having constant giggle fits throughout, although it probably wasn’t the laughter the filmmakers intended. Aside from Ryan Kwanten and a very entertaining (if scenery chewing) Ralph Ineson, every performance is godawful. Toby Kebbell as Will, the world’s dumbest meteorologist (“Maybe we can figure out how to stop these storms for good.”) is the cream of the crap crop. His slackjawed gaze and attempt at a Southern accent borders on parody, so of course he gets to do the most talking. Almost every line of dialogue from him got a chuckle from me, but that goes for a lot of dialogue for pretty much all of the characters. Kebbell was almost bested (I guess “worsted”, if that’s even a word) by Melissa Bolona, the female half of the “hip and cool” hacker couple. It’s been a long while since I’ve seen dialogue delivered so stilted, or silly facial expressions so woefully timed. From the acting, the direction, the editing, the writing, and the effects, I don’t think there was one moment where I wasn’t completely taken out of the film by some bizarre creative decision. 

The most bizarre thing of all is that it didn’t seem like anybody was trying to make anything intentionally bad here. It all seems earnest in its intent, wanting to provide the audience with a simple, fun action film. Unfortunately, they failed. Less than ten minutes in, I was already thinking to myself, “This doesn’t even feel like I’m watching a theatrical release.” It felt like I was watching what was originally pitched as a Syfy Channel original movie, but they probably turned it down due to lack of sharks. Not like the addition of sharks would have made The Hurricane Heist any dumber than it already was. There’s absolutely no attempt to craft a compelling narrative or characters. Just a thin plot to lead the characters from one action scene to the next, and even those aren’t anything to write home about. Even then, The Hurricane Heist kind of gave me exactly what I wanted. I expected to be in tears from laughter and that happened during one scene, so I would say it’s enough to recommend to bad movie aficionados. That’s about all it’s good for.

3.5/10

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