Heist Review: The director stages some credible chases and shoot-outs
There are two questions loom heavy over Heist. First: What is Academy Award-winning actor Robert De Niro doing in a low-budget thriller so generic that even its title is recycle? De Niro has made lousy movies before. But his role here is so small and the film so middling that it’s almost distracting every time the star shows up. And question two: Would the movie be as entertaining as it is without De Niro? He only has about 15 minutes’ worth of scenes in Heist, but whenever he’s on-screen the film almost feels legitimate.
To be fair, Heist (Bo Gia Song Bac) actual star is no slouch either. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays Luke Vaughn. A riverboat casino dealer who used to be the hatchet-man for De Niro’s gang-lord Francis “The Pope” Silva, but walked away and took a demotion in the organization so that he could be a better husband and father. When Vaughn falls behind on the medical bills for his daughter, he comes to Pope asking for the $300,000 he needs to keep the little girl’s treatments going. But his boss reminds him that he didn’t become a kingpin by giving money away. So Vaughn conspires with a bouncer named Cox (Dave Bautista) to steal $3,000,000 of the Chinese mob’s money that’s being laundered through the casino.
Morgan has enough gravitas to stand up to Robert De Niro in the two scenes they share together, and enough cool to fit comfortably alongside ex-wrestler Bautista. But Bautista’s acting skills are strain whenever he has to do more than snarl at anybody who crosses him. And the rest of Heist’s cast is all over the map. D.B. Sweeney pops up in a nothing role as a bus driver. Morris Chestnut makes for an unconvincing psychopath as the killer who replaced Vaughn as The Pope’s muscle.
Former MMA star Gina Carano is a big stiff as a patrolwoman in pursuit of Cox and Vaughn. Mark-Paul Gosselaar brings a little bit of welcome energy as a fast-talking lawman who takes over the investigation. And Kate Bosworth is negligible in her one scene as The Pope’s daughter: a community activist who warns him, “You. Can’t. Buy. Me!”
Director Scott Mann stages some credible chases and shoot-outs in this action film (phim hanh dong 2021). Though he leans too heavily on the thudding action score. And the movie as a whole takes itself way too seriously. Missing either the exaggerated pulpiness or kicky looseness of a good B-crime saga. The blame for that can probably be laid at the feet of producer-screenwriter Stephen Cyrus Sepher, who also plays Cox’s buddy/lackey.