The Sterling Standard in Movie Reviews 

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 Overblown and All Wet 

Maggie Grace
Maggie Grace
Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
 103 Minutes
Directed byRob Cohen
Starring: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace 
Hurricane Heist

While I was watching the new action thriller, The Hurricane Heist, I was immediately reminded of two recent Gerard Butler movies, Geostorm and Den of Thieves, and it struck me that the plot of Hurricane Heist was pretty much a cross between the two Butler movies, minus, of course, Butler. It then struck me that what The Hurricane Heist really needed was Butler. With its actual cast, The Hurricane Heist is a dreary mess that’s soggier than the storm in which much of the movie takes place. With Butler, it undoubtedly would have been just as bad a movie, but it would have been a fun bad movie.


The problems with The Hurricane Heist begin with the script, with four different writers getting story or screenplay credits. Among the four, the most significant previous film written by any of them was the 1991 comedy Drop Dead Fred, a movie blissfully forgotten by virtually everyone. Apparently, none of these four has ever taken an actual science class, and the film’s preposterousness level is approximately that of a typical Sharknado movie. The Hurricane Heist takes place in the small fictitious coastal town of Gulfport, AL, where a major Cat 5 hurricane is bearing down on the town. Not coincidentally, Gulfport is the location of a U.S. Treasury facility where old money is shredded, and a disgruntled Treasury employee Perkins (Ralph Ineson) hatches one of those exceedingly convoluted plans to steal the money that only exist in bad thrillers like this.


With the aid of the crooked local sheriff (Ben Cross), who has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the town, as well as an assortment of hackers and mercenaries, Perkins seizes the facility and plans to make off with the money in several 18-wheelers that will exit the building when the eye of the hurricane passes over. Somehow, Perkins is a far better meteorologist than anyone in recorded history, since he is able to predict exactly when a hurricane would hit that exact spot on the Alabama coast and that the eye would conveniently pass overhead and move exactly over main highways at just the right speed.


Unfortunately, while Perkins was smart enough to figure all those pseudoscientific details out, he neglected to account for his partner, Casey (Maggie Grace), who is able to elude Perkins’ mercenaries and make life generally miserable for him. She has help in the form of a pair of estranged brothers, Will (Toby Kebbell), a meteorologist, and the town’s local fix-it man Breeze (Ryan Kwanten). It seems that the brothers have had a thing about hurricanes as well ever since they were kids and watched their father die in a similar storm.


Most of The Hurricane Heist takes place at various places around town, in horrible weather conditions, as the villains struggle to track down Casey and her helpers while not getting blown away. The storm’s winds are very selective here. While the good guys are able to maneuver around while encountering only a moderate degree of wind resistance, several of the villains do an imitation of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, being blown away never to be seen again. The film’s most ridiculous scene takes place in the town shopping mall, where Casey shoots out the overhead skylight, causing a massive updraft sucking a bunch of evildoers out into the heavens. Fortunately, Will had the foresight to tie his and Casey’s legs to solid objects so they only get blown about 50 feet or so in the air before bobbing around like children’s balloons and somehow descending safely.


The Hurricane Heist was directed by Rob Cohen, who at one time was a go-to guy for action films, including the original The Fast and the Furious. Unfortunately, Cohen’s career has fallen on hard times since then. Cohen is an old-school director, eschewing computerized effects in favor of real stunt work. That preference doesn’t help him in The Hurricane Heist, a film laden with mediocre CGI. Action scenes in which characters are blown around like rag dolls simply don’t lend themselves to stunt workers performing spectacular heroical deeds.


The one time that Cohen’s talents are on display is during the final chase scene, as Will and Breeze try to commandeer one of the fleeing 18-wheelers, while jumping from a pursuing pickup truck. If this scenario seems familiar, it’s quite similar to a major set piece in The Fast and the Furious. The stunt work was impressive 15 years ago, and it’s still impressive now. But as the scene progresses, it turns into a battle to stay ahead of the wall of the backside of the hurricane, which is rapidly catching up to the fleeing vehicles (even though hurricanes in the real world rarely travel at more than ten miles an hour, especially when over land). Needless to say, during this sequence, the sight of a giant wall of storm clouds and wind bearing down on the trucks is a considerable distraction, and not a very believable one at that.


Director Cohen has other problems in The Hurricane Heist beyond the wildly improbable science and oft-times cheesy computer effects. This film boasts some of the worst Southern accents of all time, the worst offender being Ben Cross. Considering that this is an actor who co-starred in an Oscar winning film, Chariots of Fire, and has a lengthy and impressive resume, Cross’s performance is painful to watch on many levels. He winds up sounding like a fourth-rate New Jersey comedy club comic doing an impression of Jackie Gleason in Smoky and the Bandit. None of the other actors are significantly better in that regard. The fault may lie in with a largely English and Australian cast who may not be that familiar with comic dialogue. Regardless of who is to blame, Hurricane Heist is the first movie I can recall in a long time in which regional accents had any effect on me whatsoever.


The Hurricane Heist is the worst type of bad movie to watch. It’s not campy, cheesy fun, as it might have been with Gerard Butler or a group of sharks involved. And it’s not the type of movie that sinks under the burden of a miniscule budget. No, although this certainly isn’t the CGI extravaganza that goes with a nine-figure budget, Cohen had enough money on hand and competent actors in the lead roles to do a decent job. Instead, with the exception of a ten-minute segment that’s largely copied from one of his best films, this is a movie that calls attention to how bad it is with its absurd science and even more absurd accents surrounding a SyFy channel plot. The Hurricane Heist deserves the fate it will undoubtedly receive, to blow in and out of theaters very quickly.

This trailer showcases some of the action in The Hurricane Heist.

Read other reviews of The Hurricane Heist: 

The Hurricane Heist (2018) on IMDb