Just as its title would suggest, “The Hurricane Heist” is a literal-minded movie in every sense of the word. Not only is the plot about an attempted $600 million heist at the United States Mint in Alabama during a Category 5 storm, but the script and subsequent dialogue seems as if it was written by a six year old. If you want your movies spelled out for you to the point that characters actually discuss what is happening on screen as you see it (“the wind is blowing down the tower!” or “he’s got the gun and he’s shooting!“) and you hate surprises, then this is the movie for you.
Weather-based disaster movies can be just as fun as a classic heist movie, so mashing these two together into a loud, dumb, action-packed thrill ride sounds like a no-brainer, right? I thought so too, but my hopes were quickly dashed by the laundry list of wasted opportunities. So much could’ve been done to make this a romp filled with campy, culty amusement but instead we get a tedious, crappy film that is DOA. It’s dumb in the worst way, an idiotic, uninspired waste of time. It’s stupid but not nearly as stupid as it needs to be in order to be fun.
The problem starts with the cast, a group of inarticulate D-listers who are bland and generic. Case in point: I spent the entire movie thinking the heroine of the story (Maggie Grace) was actually actress Leslie Bibb. Oops. Add in a meteorologist who is terrified of hurricanes (Toby Kebbell), his kidnapped drunk of a brother (Ryan Kwanten), a low-rent, fake Gerard Butler lookalike (Ralph Ineson), and Kentucky-fried no-name character actors who swagger and deliver lines like Foghorn Leghorn, and you have all the necessary ingredients for a movie that’s as poorly acted as it is directed. I really wanted to like this movie but everything from the appalling editing to the most stiff non-acting since “The Room” made it impossible to do so. And forget the controversy over “Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle” with Karen Gillan’s short shorts: why is a pretty, genius computer hacker character wearing a one-shoulder club dress to a heist?
The storm becomes its own character in the film and it turns in a better performance than any of the actors. The cheap, second-rate visual effects are ridiculous, lending a few laugh-out-loud moments like storm clouds that resemble a menacing skull face to a hilariously awful stunt where the glass atrium of a shopping mall is shot out with an assault rifle and a bad guy gets sucked straight out into the sky. It sounds awesome in a “so bad it’s good” kind of way, but this one is just plain crummy. It’s even worse than the worst SyFy Channel original movie (all of the “Sharknado” films are more fun than this, and better crafted too). “The Hurricane Heist” makes “Geostorm” look like “Citzen Kane.”
Not everything is complete garbage, though. There are some delightfully amusing action scenes, including a big finale chase with a semi-truck race against the eyewall of the storm as millions of dollars fly into the air. Some of the film’s highlights also become its funniest, like when a baddie turns to the storm and yells “damn you!!!” directly at it, when serious gunplay constantly breaks out but everyone is the worst shot on the planet, and when two brothers call out the same “Omaha” football play over and over yet each miraculously understands what the other wants him to do at that very moment (turn off lights, grab a gun, throw a punch to the left) when it suits the situation.
Even with a couple of bright spots of humor, nothing can save this project from the discount DVD bin where it belongs. How this managed a theatrical release is truly mind boggling.