I’m a big fan of Entertainment Studios. 2017 saw it break out with a trio of features — 47 Meters Down, Friend Request and Hostiles — that showed a willingness to let talented directors take advantage of pulpy scripts and turn them into films that were interesting enough to make up for their standard genre premises. So I was looking forward to The Hurricane Heist even though I knew it was being directed by Rob Cohen, a filmmaker I’ve tried my best over the years to ignore. So I’m disappointed but not surprised that Heist was the first bump in the road for the studio, which obviously doesn’t help alleviate the troubling fact that its next release will be Chappaquiddick, which is exactly what it sounds like. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
This is a film that opens with a storm so intense that it actually materializes into an enormous laughing skull in the sky above the characters. I feel that’s an important detail to share up front as it’s the type of thing that could be either the boldest or most embarrassing moment in pretty much any film in which it might appear. And it’s not even close to the weirdest thing that happens over the course of its runtime — that would be the second time the giant laughing skull appears in the sky.
I want to give Cohen’s film way more credit and leniency than it probably deserves just for being so committed to its premise of being a movie called Hurricane Heist, which is just ridiculous. The bad Southern accents from its predominantly British cast, the nonstop and increasingly unlikely twists and turns of its convoluted script, and just the general air of being a little too on the nose to be appreciated as pure pulp all fight me, though. It’s an exhausting film that could be a lot of fun if it would just settle down now and then. If I was going by a star rating I would still award it one star for giving one of the hackers a gun that matches her dress. Nice touch, whoever came up with that.
And isn’t it bizarre that this is the second film to come out this year about a team of people trying to rob a currency-shredding facility? That’s weird, right? I know it’s only March, but that doesn’t give me high hopes for 2018. What I’m saying is, if in May we finally learn all about that time Han Solo robbed the Galactic Nova Crystal-shredding installation on Planet Whatever, we shouldn’t be surprised.
Even with all that, though, things could have been worse (just ask Geostorm). But the fact remains that this is a film where the main character — a “hotshot meteorologist” whose brother’s name is Breeze, by the way — rides around in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Tumbler and features three eighteen-wheelers full of cash trying to wreck each other while outrunning a hurricane wall. And I almost want to say the ending is some twisted Kubrick reference (one more star awarded), but that might fall under the heading of giving them too much credit again.