You probably never heard of Heist when it came out. Like Z for Zacharia, it had a limited theatrical release before going to video. The reason I know about it is because it stars Gina Carano, an MMA fighter whom I am a fan of. In addition to being adorable as all fuck, I think it is cool she can kill people with her hands. I started paying attention to her after Red Alert 3 before I saw Haywire, Fast And Furious 6, and a direct to video feature called In the Blood. The quality of her acting is subjective, but I think Carano works best as a stunt actor like Arnold Schwarzenegger. She is certainly a better actress than Ronda Rousey if I am being honest. Did Heist prove my fandom is misplaced or was it a serviceable action movie?
In an effort to secure funds for his daughter’s surgery Vaughn, played by Jeffrey Dean Morgan, robs a riverfront casino run by Pope played by Robert De Niro. When things go wrong and the getaway driver abandons his crew, Vaughn hijacks a bus and makes his way to Mexico with police in pursuit.
Basic is the operative word here. If you know about heist movies, you know how it goes. You have the down trotted hero, resorting to crime, and feels justified because he is doing it to bad people. After the job goes south, the hero is left in a sticky situation, there is a twist, a big reveal, and in the end the hero gets what he wants.
Heist is a simple, low-budget Ocean’s Eleven meets Speed. A good chuck takes place on the bus as it moves across state lines. While on the move, he has to negotiate with the police, manage his unstable crew in the form of Dave Bautista’s Cox, and try to deal with hostages without coming off as the bad guy. It does what you expect and it is not especially bad in any outstanding way.
Its problems are in regards to quality. While that sounds inconsiderate because it is low budget, it has been proven time and time again that budget does not matter if you know what you are doing. The Raid cost 1.1 million and it was the best action movie of 2012 next to The Avengers. Heist cost 8.9 million and in many respects it is poorly made.
The editing gave me a headache because there was a cut to one of five angles every half-second. It was elaborate for no reason, like the director was afraid he would not get the right shot, so he filmed and used all of them for one mess of a final cut. Seriously, how hard is it to shoot four guys at a table? And then there are the CG muzzle flashes and debris explosions. Granted, Raid used them too, but only in the beginning before it became 80 minutes of a bunch of Asians cutting each other. Also, the vault set had cinderblock walls in a place that supposed to be a boat… I guess the decorators were too lazy to cover the walls in aluminum paneling and paint them a color that matched the room.
I admit Carano is not the best actress, but if you give her enough to do, she will make the most of it. As the character Chris, she does nothing in the 30 minutes of screen time or get into a fight, the area in which she is an expert. The rest of the cast did well with Morgan as the thief with a heart of gold heart. Bautista was also great and Chestnut seemed to enjoy himself in the zealous psycho role of Dog. And De Niro acted circles around the entire cast as he usually does.
All in all, Heist works as an average crime movie, but it is not for fans of Carano. While she was not every active in Fast and Furious 6, she at least had people to punch. If you like crime-dramas, I suppose it is worth a rental.