Outside of its strong cast there is not much worth discussing about 2015’s Heist. The characters and story waste a talented ensemble and the film brings little to a crowded world of gangster, robbery, and casino thrillers.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is a capable lead, playing the good-hearted father Luke Vaughn who is forced into crime to pay for his daughter’s medical bills. He gives the best performance of the cast and his is the only character with any real depth. Robert DeNiro plays a brutal casino owner and gangster known as The Pope that leaves one repeatedly asking what he is doing in this film. Vaughn’s main accomplice is Dave Bautista’s Jason Cox, a violent man with a vendetta against The Pope.
Following a relatively well executed heist, the robbers engage in a shootout with casino security before hijacking a city bus at 4:00 a.m. Most of the film takes place on the bus as the thieves negotiate with the police and fight for their lives. Gina Carano plays Officer Bajos and is first to respond to the hijacking while Mark-Paul Gosselaar’s corrupt Officer Merconi leads the police response.
The casting of Gina Carano makes no sense, as she has just a single brief combat scene in the film. Instead, she is forced to deliver an endless series of bad lines. Nobody could do much with what she is given, as her character reiterates that her gut feeling about the hijacker’s voice caused her to ram through a police roadblock and let the bus escape the city. There is terrible dialogue throughout the film with many lines that fall flat. One low point comes when a SWAT officer boards the bus, grappling with Cox next to the driver struggling to stay on the road. The driver makes an awkward comment to stay behind the yellow line before Cox pushes the man onto the highway.
Beyond the dialogue, the story from writers Max Adams and Stephen Cyrus Sepher makes little sense. The actions of so many characters and the response of both law enforcement and The Pope are often absurd. Several cuts through time, including the opening scene that demonstrates the brutality of DeNiro’s character, add little that is not established in the primary storyline. Director Scott Mann deserves credit for putting together several interesting action sequences.
The final act features a series of twists that contribute to an otherwise uneventful plot. Still, there is an abundance of cliches and many key details are left unexplained. Vaughn’s motivation for the heist is underdeveloped and his daughter’s hospital gives him an arbitrary deadline to meet. Jeffrey Dean Morgan gives by far the best performance in a film that misuses its cast at every turn.
Heist offers very little originality in a story full of flat characters and unbelievable dialogue. Feel free to skip this one as there are much better crime thrillers out there, including David Mamet’s 2001 film of the same name.Our Rating: Avoid