The Hurricane Heist (2018)

“This time, no one’s gonna’ die.”

Had it been released back when brick and mortar video rental stores were a norm instead of a slowly dying breed of the prehistoric past – granted, some mom and pop shops still open their doors, as do a surprising number of Family Video establishments (which I honestly can’t beging to understand how or why) – The Hurricane Heist would’ve been the type of boneheaded popcorn flick my 9-year-old self would have ripped off the shelves. The case would’ve had bold and blocky air-quotes from obscure news outlets, surfer dude adjectives like “insane, far-out, radical” to describe the story, the back a big picture of craziness with an inset frame full of a few human faces. But like so many bad movies I revisited time and time again as a kid, The Hurricane Heist just isn’t very good, and while it at least recognizes this fact, it doesn’t embrace the ridiculousness that is its very livelihood. It’s dumb fun without much of the latter.

Blindly written in the same manner as a game of balderdash, The Hurricane Heist’s imagination goes for broke while the lifeless people on the screen are basically upturned and empty pockets. Will (Toby Kebbell) is a meteorologist predicting a massive storm. His brother Breeze (Ryan Kwanten, who somehow weathers that disastrous name), skates through life as a drunken Bob the Builder. There’s tension between the two, mostly of the melodramatic variety, adding arguments but were little motivation. Meanwhile, Casey (Maggie Grace) oversees the shredding of millions in old currency, only to have her operation thrown off by a crew of forgettable bad guys hungry for cash. Breeze is taken captive, Will and Casey dodge bullets, the hurricane lays waste to the land. For a project with such an insane and literal title, The Hurricane Heist unfolds remarkably safe.

Start with a nearly plagiarized rendition of Hard Rain as the foundation, shower in some of Twister’s hilariously rendered graphics, then add a tiny sprinkle of Die Hard’s all-time great villains, and what you get from The Hurricane Heist is a modern-day 90’s movie full of talented B-list stars. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, beside the fact that this flick is so out-dated and of another time that it almost feels rusty and refurbished. There’s nothing here that I didn’t see in 1999’s buffoonish Chill Factor, and although I admire its attempt to build character instead of embracing CGI spectacle like last year’s Geostormthe movie doesn’t make its people human. Rob Cohen (of the original The Fast and the Furious) plays with the cast like a little tyke playing with G.I. Joes. Eventually it gets old and tedious and left on the floor for a parent to unwillingly pick up and put away. The fun hardly arrives and barely even lasts.

Movies like The Hurricane Heist don’t often make their way into theaters anymore for a very specific reason; production companies know that in all likelihood the film will deservedly get savaged by critics, that the lack of star power won’t pull in huge audiences, and that going straight to VOD is the far safer gamble. It makes me wonder what positivity was willing to showcase this bad business decision, this sterile story, and distribute one of the most woebegone and grey-tone pictutes I’ve ever seen on the big screen. There’s a good chance this one would have incurred some late fees on my Blockbuster card back in the day, but that’s mostly because while gorging myself on microwaved Pizza Rolls and crackers carefully decorated with Easy Cheese and enough soda to make a toilet bowl radiate, I didn’t care about what the hell I was watching so long as it made me feel the least bit full. Take a few Tums tablets and a shot of Pepto before seeing this stomach ache waiting to happen.

“I knew today was gonna be a shitshow.”

Rating: 2 out of 5

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