In this exceptionally dumb thriller about bad weather and morons, thieves attempt a heist against the U.S. Treasury as a Category 5 hurricane approaches. Directed by Rob Cohen from a screenplay by Jeff Dixon and Scott Windhauser, The Hurricane Heist stars Toby Kebbell and Maggie Grace.
And here I was thinking that The Hurricane Heist couldn’t possibly be dumber than Geostorm. There must be something about catastrophic meteorological events that just brings out the stupidity in everyone. Including me, it seems, because here I am, once again reviewing the cast-offs that everyone else at this prestigious outlet is too important to cover.
If you were wondering how anything could possibly be dafter than a film about Gerard Butler shouting at satellites, don’t worry – so was I. And at first glance, The Hurricane Heist is just plain, regular dumb. A movie about a robbery with an impending hurricane as a convenient ticking-clock plot device is dopey but serviceable. It only becomes egregiously, offensively dumb when it turns out that the criminals have built their entire scheme around this unprecedented natural phenomenon. That was when I sat up and started paying attention. I knew that we had reached an unparalleled level of idiocy.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. The Hurricane Heist opens with a 1992-set prologue in which the father of two Alabama brothers, Will and Breeze, is crushed under a water tower during Hurricane Andrew. You can tell how serious the film is about its characterization and emotive imagery because the younger brother even imagines the roiling storm clouds as a yawning ghoul’s face, which at first (I hadn’t read any of the press releases) I assumed was real. No such luck.
Will and Breeze grow up into Toby Kebbell and Ryan Kwanten, respectively. Will’s a government meteorologist who is nonetheless terrified by bad weather, which makes me wonder why he chose that particular profession. (The answer is that the screenplay needed someone with weather-related expertise.) Breeze remained in the town of Gulfport, where they grew up, and where he continues to run his dad’s towing and repair business. (He’s also an ex-Marine, because the screenplay needed someone to do some shooting. Try and keep up.) On the way is a city-destroying super-storm of a ferocity you only see in movies. They call it Tammy, which causes a massive evacuation because everyone in Gulfport thinks the local theatre is playing that Melissa McCarthy movie again.
Breeze, it turns out, is a big fan of Melissa McCarthy, so he elects to stay behind. This prompts Will to race back to Gulfport to save him from the scary-faced weather, but in the meantime, there’s a caper afoot. Cooked up by a disgruntled Treasury employee, Perkins (Ralph Ineson), the scheme is to jack $600 million in old currency from the local Mint facility and leg it off into the eye of the storm. This is a plot complicated by a million factors, including the fact it’s absolutely f*****g mental, but of more pressing concern is a fellow Treasury agent, Casey, played by Maggie Grace, who buggers off with a bit of critical information that Perkins needs to complete the heist.
You’ll remember Maggie Grace as Liam Neeson’s daughter from the Taken series, and the main reason I always wished that franchise was called Murdered. Whoever’s bright idea it was to cast her as a no-nonsense hard-boiled action heroine deserves about as much credit for their intellect as Jeff Dixon and Scott Windhauser, who wrote a screenplay which contains this line of dialogue: “All we needed was one little hurricane and you screwed it up!”
The Hurricane Heist is directed by Rob Cohen, for whom nonsense is a specialty. This is the man who directed Tyler Perry as a tough FBI criminal profiler in Alex Cross, who had Vin Diesel grind down a stair rail in x*x, and who also made Dragonheart, which was about a dragon that spoke in Sean Connery’s voice. His penchant for insane action spectacle makes him both the best and worst person to direct The Hurricane Heist, which has its fair share of gonzo set-pieces, but also stumbles around dribbling all over itself like most of his films tend to.
If you were at least expecting some flavour of brainless fun here, you’ll be as disappointed as I was. The performances are listless, the staging is uninspired, and the whole thing looks so cheap and chintzy that the fact it got theatrical play is a crime even more absurd than the one The Hurricane Heist is actually about. All this and it didn’t occur to anyone that having an entire film unfold in the carnage of a hurricane might make things a little bit difficult to see. All the action is filtered through so much torrential wind and rain that it’d be impossible to work out what was going on even if Cohen could direct it properly – which he can’t.