01st Apr2015

‘Diamond Heist’ Review

by Mark Allen

Stars: Michael Madsen, Vinnie Jones, Jamelia, Tamer Hassan, Simon Szabó, Nikolett Barabas, Mark Phelan | Story by Csaba Pindroch & Zoltan Furedi | Screenplay by Ivo Marloh, Dénes Orosz, Róbert Koltai | Directed by Róbert Koltai, Éva Gárdos


I’m not sure which title is worse: Diamond Heist, the name of the film I was tasked with reviewing; or Magic Boys, the name given to the streamed movie I actually watched. One suggests a generic, bargain-basement action thriller involving tons of money and violence but no stakes whatsoever, while the other hints at a cheap Magic Mike knock-off. While it’s possible that both of those concepts could lead to entertaining movies, the final product is a wholly disappointing amalgamation of both.

A quick IMDb search reveals that the two titles belong to the same film, which rarely means anything good but makes sense as it’s obvious from the start that the makers of Diamond Heist weren’t exactly sure what film they were making.

We begin with elder Hollywood statesman Michael Madsen having a violent strop at a hotel buffet in a dressing gown because they haven’t got the right caviar or something equally petty. His name’s Terence – never Terry, apparently, as if that counts as a personality trait – and it fits him like a six-fingered glove. Old Terence is wealthy enough to do whatever he likes, but he has a problem: two of the male strippers from one of his clubs have gone missing, so a series of contrivances materialise from thin air and lead to two slovenly Hungarian champagne factory workers (again, a detail that adds nothing to the characters) accidentally getting the gig. Also, Vinnie Jones doesn’t like Terence, wants the Hungarians dead and enlists Jamelia (yep, that one) to seduce him so that he can get some diamonds or something.

Or at least that’s what I remember. Oh, and the real strippers who are supposed to perform at Terence’s club end up tramping around London and getting involved in some jolly japes. Japes which end up either being incredibly homophobic or using a sexual assault on two women as the punchline to a joke. You understand why I tried to forget that particular plotline.

Unsurprisingly, it’s a huge mess. The action jumps from character to character (and often country to country) with little indication of where the story might be going or who it’s meant to be focused on. Both Jones and Madsen are far too overtly douchey to ever warrant much sympathy, but they’re given equal screentime to the hapless champagne brothers who mostly just flap their arms in excitement and try not to get hit on by flaming bell boys. I guess the less ugly of the two is the ‘hero’, since he develops a romantic relationship with Jamelia (her character’s name is Cherry Valentine, swear to God).

Oh, Jamelia, you poor thing. In a movie defined by over-the-top performances and wooden dialogue, the singer of “Superstar” stands ten feet below the rest. Although she’s a performer, her talents don’t extend to being able to speak or react believably, and there are some readings that could have been taken straight out of first-year film school productions. (For those who didn’t do a film degree: everything you make in first year is shit. Most of second, too.) I don’t want to bang on about her too much, though, as the film’s single biggest problem is that the script is humourless and without aim. Its second biggest problem is that the directors thought the exact opposite and went as broad as they could, alternating between attempts at a gritty thriller, bromantic comedy and some kind of male stripper empowerment fantasy(?) every other scene.

Tasteless, formless and – most disappointingly – without ambition to be anything more than utterly mediocre, Diamond Heist fails even on that count. I can’t help but wonder why the filmmakers chose to do this. It was clearly an independent effort, which meant they had free reign to tell an original story without being beholden to studio whims. Why then, if that was the case, did they simply regurgitate a host of half-baked Hollywood tropes and create something completely unremarkable? I get it when the players with money do this. It makes them money and it’s safe. But when you’ve got no stars and no money with which to polish your turd, everyone knows it’s a stinker. There’s nothing to gain from selling out if no-one’s buying.

Diamond Heist is out on DVD, Digital HD, and On Demand courtesy of Random Media.


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