05th Apr2018

‘The Hurricane Heist’ Review

by Matthew Turner

Stars: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten, Ralph Ineson, Melissa Bolona, Christian Contreras, James Cutler, Ben Cross, Ed Birch | Written by Scott Windhauser, Jeff Dixon | Directed by Rob Cohen

HURRICANEHEIST_QUAD

It appears to be the season for ridiculously dumb, yet surprisingly entertaining popcorn movies. Hot on the heels of Pacific Rim: Uprising comes The Hurricane Heist, in which, yes, a heist takes place during a hurricane. It’s difficult to imagine a sillier plot outside of Snakes on a Plane, but, like that film, The Hurricane Heist takes its ridiculous premise and runs with it, delivering about as much fun as it’s possible to have with a film this stupid.

Every action hero needs a tragic backstory, so here we get two for the price of one, as young brothers Will and Breeze (yep, there’s a character called Breeze in a hurricane movie) witness their father getting crushed by a water tower during Hurricane Andrew in 1992. And as if that wasn’t traumatic enough, the CGI clouds morph into a shrieking skull face, just to ram the point home.

Cut to the present day and the brothers’ lives have gone in very different directions: Will (Britain’s own Toby Kebbell) is now a professional storm-chaser (sorry, “synoptic meteorologist”), driving what looks like an early model Batmobile into deadly winds for a living. Meanwhile, Breeze (Australia’s own Ryan Kwanten) has stayed in his home town of Gulfport, Alabama, where, coincidentally, he’s responsible for fixing the generator at the nearby U.S. Treasury mint shredding plant.

That’s where the heist comes in. As Gulfport prepares for a Category 5 (that’s the worst kind) hurricane, a gang of dastardly thieves (including hackers, inside men and local law enforcement officers) execute their cunning plan to rob the Treasury of 600 million not-yet-shredded dollars. However, they have reckoned without wily Agent Casey Corbyn (Maggie Grace), who teams up with Will and Breeze to foil their plot.

It’s important to point out that The Hurricane Heist delivers handsomely on both halves of its premise. The hurricane scenes are genuinely impressive, thanks to a seamless blend of actually-pretty-decent CGI and some world-class wind-and-rain-machine work. And the heist scenes are thrilling too, heightened by some distinctive little touches, such as machine guns that shoot tranquilliser darts (though Ralph Ineson’s lead bad guy quickly abandons his “zero casualties” rule).

To be fair, The Hurricane Heist is directed by Rob Cohen, who made the original The Fast and The Furious and knows his way around an exciting action sequence. Accordingly, the set-pieces are a lot of fun, particularly a shoot-out in hurricane force winds, where Will uses hubcaps like giant ninja throwing stars, or the bonkers finale sequence, in which three giant trucks somehow manage to keep ahead of an oncoming hurricane.

The performances are a lot of fun too. Kebbell and Kwanten are clearly enjoying themselves (seemingly trying to out-do each other with the dodginess of their Southern accents), while Grace delivers her best performance to date as the amusingly named Agent Corbyn (though she still hasn’t learned to run properly and her onscreen running here is almost as bad as it was in Taken). Similarly, Ineson makes a good scenery-chewing villain, and there’s strong support from Chariots of Fire‘s Ben Cross as the crooked Sheriff and Melissa Bolona as a cheerfully nerdy hacker.

As for the dialogue, it’s cheesy rather than outright terrible (“Where’d you learn that, PhD school?”), but there’s enough of a rapport between the characters to make it work, while the film also benefits from a pace that’s fast enough to make sure the multiple plot holes are swiftly bounced over.

Ultimately, The Hurricane Heist is as enjoyable as it is ridiculous, which is really saying something. You might hate yourself for it, but it’s impossible to see this movie without ending up with a big, goofy smile on your face. Go on, you know you want to.

*** 3/5

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