The Aisle Seat - Movie Reviews by Mike McGranaghan
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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


The Hurricane Heist

The Hurricane Heist sounds like one of those fake movies Jerry and the gang used to go see on Seinfeld. It's about a group of people trying to rob a U.S. Treasury Mint facility during a Category 5 hurricane. Obviously, this is not meant to be great art, which is fine. There's nothing wrong with some mindless fun every once in a while. To be perfectly honest, I went into this film totally prepared, and even excited, to see something silly. That it largely fails on that count is a weird disappointment.

An employee of the Treasury, Perkins (The Witch's Ralph Ineson), has turned corrupt. He leads a team of generic co-villains in carrying out a complex scheme to steal $600 million in old bills that are due to be shredded. The details of that plan are unimportant. The only thing you really need to know is that the approaching hurricane is intended to help provide cover. After all, if no one can safely reach the facility, who's going to stop them?

But of course, there are people to stop them, namely fellow agent Casey (Maggie Grace), meteorologist Will (Toby Kebbell), and his mechanic brother Breeze (Ryan Kwanten). That's right – the movie about a hurricane has a character named Breeze. Thanks to Will's specially-designed weather tank, they're able to make their way toward the Mint in light of gale force winds, pounding rain, and flying debris.

The problem with The Hurricane Heist is not that it's stupid. The problem is that it isn't stupid enough. A premise like this promises a high degree of insanity. You don't enter the theater wanting to see a realistic drama about extreme weather conditions, you enter wanting to see an over-the-top thrill ride. To be fair, there are some moments of that along the way, like the scene where Will tosses hubcaps into the wind to use as lethal weapons against the bad guys. Even better is an absolutely preposterous scene in a shopping mall that hilariously defies logic and features what might accurately be called “human kites.”

By and large, though, the screenplay saves most of the lunacy for the last 15 minutes. The finale, involving three semi-trucks racing right through the center of the storm, finally lives up to the potential of the premise. It's ridiculous in the best possible way, and capped with a one-in-a-million occurrence that made me laugh out loud with delight. Calling the climax “too little, too late” wouldn't be accurate, because the film does manage to become fun. Still, too much of the story takes itself seriously. There are dull personal dramas between the characters and even a brief message about climate change – things nobody going to a movie involving a robbery during a hurricane is likely to care about.

What would improve The Hurricane Heist aside from more craziness? Better acting would have helped. The performances here run the gamut from bland to embarrassing. A more coherent plot might have been nice, as well. The film attempts to add twists and turns by having certain characters reveal unexpected allegiances to certain other characters. They get confusing, especially since the villains are one-dimensional. It's also kind of annoying that selective physics are employed throughout. Bad guys are far more susceptible to the storm's effects than the good guys are. That feels like a cheat because we know the heroes are never really in peril.

There is definitely some good stuff in here, just not in sufficient quantity. On the spectrum of weather-related thrillers, The Hurricane Heist is no Twister, but it is a little better than Into the Storm and Geostorm, for whatever that's worth. Which admittedly isn't much.

( out of four)

The Hurricane Heist is rated PG-13 for sequences of gun violence, action, destruction, language and some suggestive material. The running time is 1 hour and 40 minutes.

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