With so many new movies to watch, we were undecided about which one to pick. But, hankering for a bit of that old school 80’s vibe, I decided to go with The Hurricane Heist. Looking to mix Twister (1996) and a bit of Hard Rain together, this film looked like it was right up my alley.
But, would revisiting 80’s/early 90’s plot themes be a good thing? Or would The Hurricane Heist be lost amid the strong winds?
Maggie Grace is the obvious star of The Hurricane Heist. While the film tries to shine the spotlight instead on Toby Kebbell and (to a lesser extent) Ryan Kwanten, it’s really Maggie Grace who makes this movie. While Toby and Ryan are this film’s version of the buddy comedy duo, it’s Maggie who keeps viewers interested. Sure, all three of them are kinda of caught in a middling film, but Maggie showcases some acting talent anyway. And that’s just impressive.
Toby and Ryan’s characters, on the other hand, probably looked pretty good on paper, and there are moments in The Hurricane Heist where they are entertaining. But, for the most part, they just don’t really engage the viewer, either by Ryan’s odd reversals throughout the film (at first a drunk, then a crack ex-military man), and Toby’s encyclopedic knowledge of hurricanes – and how exactly to use that against the bad guys. Both of them fall far short of Maggie’s solid acting. Unfortunately, that’s kind of the story of this entire film.
Except that is, for the bad guys. While The Hurricane Heist keeps trying to make them a threat, watching the meteorologist and his gal pal Treasury agent take them down with relative ease doesn’t do much to keep that idea going. And, honestly, it gets a little hard to tell which bad guy is which as the film doesn’t really do much to distinguish them from each other along the way. If the film had done that extra bit to make one of them stand out (you know, become a villain the viewer can root against, rather than just another generic “bad guy”), it probably would have improved the quality of the film overall.
The Hurricane Heist probably looked really good on paper, despite some cheesy dialogue. Unfortunately, thanks to some bad sound editing, even that cheesy dialogue is hard to understand at points in the film, so the viewer just kinds of wades their way through the soggy plot without it at times.
And then there’s the plot itself. Again, the basics – a crew attempts to rob the US Treasury during a hurricane – sounds interesting. But, as the viewer continues to watch The Hurricane Heist, they are treated to more and more impossibly coincidental situations that help the good guys. At every chance, the bad guys are outsmarted by a meteorologist, who seems so knowledgeable of hurricanes it’s as if he’s controlling the storm’s every move. While at first that seems like a good thing, as the film goes on, that gets more and more cheesy by the minute. The film tries to portray this guy as a superhero (complete with leaping from one vehicle to another in a single bound), and yet at the same time tries to convince the viewer he’s just a normal guy. It’s ridiculous.
The special effects, on the other hand, are pretty decent. While The Hurricane Heist seems a bit muddied thanks to the torrential downpour throughout most of it (and the bad sound editing), the viewer is pretty impressed by the effects. Sure, the exact timing of it all doesn’t let the viewer forget it’s all taking place on a Hollywood sound stage (cue the car rolling, cue the lightning, etc.), but it’s still kind of fun to watch. If not believable, at least the integration between the CGI and the physical stunts is pretty seamless.
While The Hurricane Heist is a bit of cheesy fun, the viewer can’t help thinking this could have been so much better. With a bit more imagination – and a bit better dialogue, The Hurricane Heist could have been as good on the screen as it seems to look on paper. Instead, it comes across as a by-the-numbers action flick that would have been better received back when Hard Rain appeared on the scene (although at least that film had Christian Slater and Morgan Freeman, while all this film has is Maggie Grace).
Even though everything is planned out, though, there’s still a bit of cheesy fun watching these actors (or more likely their stunt doubles) play around in the rain. It’s just too bad that’s all there is to The Hurricane Heist.