'Hurricane Heist' Review: More Like a Depression

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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Oddly enough, the best way to start talking about “The Hurricane Heist” is to just describe the opening. Like “Twister”, the film opens with the heroes as children who bear witness to the death of a loved one via the title disaster. In this case, our hero children and their father are running away from Hurricane Andrew in 1992. After a truck accident, Papa Redneck puts the boys inside a nearby abandoned house. Then Papa Redneck has to go back outside so he can die...oh I mean “fix the truck.” Sorry. This doesn’t work out very well when a water silo gets blown to the ground and rolls over him in an unintentionally comedic fashion as if he were playdough. Andrew then unleashes his poorly rendered CGI wrath on the equally poorly rendered CGI house by flipping it over. The roof lifts off and the boys look into the clouds of Andrew. Then the clouds...and I am not joking....form into a big, evil CGI skull that glares down at them and....roars. Cut to black. Cue title card: “The Hurricane Heist”. From that point forward, I figured I knew what kind of movie I was going to get: a horrible, horrible...yet hilarious guilty pleasure. Sadly, not as often I hoped though.

(Image Source: KALB)

“The Hurricane Heist” has a couple of moments that live up to the B-Grade “so bad it’s good” tone it was advertised as, but mostly it’s just a bad, straight-faced attempt at a legitimate thrill ride marred by God-awful visual effects, horrible storytelling, cringe-worthy writing, and a tone that unfortunately take itself too seriously.

The basic premise revolves around a group of robbers attempting to nonviolently steal 600 million dollars that is ready to be shredded at a federal facility in Gulfport, Alabama. The kicker is that robbers have chosen to do this during Hurricane Tammy as cover. Unfortunately, they need to get their hands on a federal agent with the access code that ends up being protected by a pair of Alabama rednecks, one a meteorologist and the other a repair man (the two brothers mentioned above grown up). It’s a stupid premise, but it could be a lot of fun if handled the right way, which would be the wrong way ON PURPOSE.

Okay, the positives...this won’t take too long. The lead cast is pretty good. Toby Kebbell is a talented actor who really needs a new agent. He is constantly being put in films that bomb and that he is a lot better than such as that awful “Warcraft” film. Here, even under the silly southern accent, he manages to produce a high degree of likeability. Maggie Grace (daughter from the Taken films) manages to play the part of a strong female lead well without resorting to making her annoying and grumpy like so many other films do. Ralph Ineson gives his best Liam Neeson impression as the film’s villain to screen chewing delight. Ryan Kwanten is also pretty good, be it hammy, as Kebbell’s redneck brother. All of them seem to be making the best of their situation...and I don’t mean the hurricane.

What next? The jacked up hurricane-resistant car that Kebbell’s redneck meteorologist drives is pretty cool and has one of the film’s best action scenes. However, like most of the best moments, it was ruined in the trailer.

Hmmmm...the physical effects of creating the storm are pretty good. I mean this sort of thing has been done before...but they do it again here just fine! That’s a positive right?

....The action scenes are shot well enough and have the occasional cool moment not ruined by stupidity or bad visual effects.

Okay, that’s it. Everything else is horrid. The CGI visual effects are some of the worst I have ever seen in a theatrical movie. It’s right up there with “The Legend of Hercules” from 2014. They rely on it for just about everything to create the hurricane that isn’t wind or rain. Of course, they choose to “enhance” those practical effects with the CGI. Therefore it all looks like CGI. The visual quality is literally that of a Syfy Channel film like “Sharknado” or “Mega Super Duper Spectacular Storm 3000” or something. I am pretty sure this was meant to be a direct to DVD or Blu-ray release, but some fool thought that they could slip a good buck out of it in theaters.

Take out the hurricane, and the basic heist of the film is boring. The only noteworthy aspect was the fact that the villains start off with a no killing policy using tranquilizer guns. That aspect quickly goes out the window fast because we need those action scenes with gunfights. Really, it’s just them mostly sitting around waiting for Maggie Grace to be “Taken” hostage and give them the pin number to the standard issue bank vault.

The characters are all one-dimensional stereotypes. There is no development of anything. The two brothers have one scene together before things get crazy and they don’t reunite again until the climax. Therefore, we know nothing of their relationship and feel zero bonds between them. The movie even forgets about its own hurricane as a character. At one point it was just a Tropical Storm and then suddenly someone says it has Category 4 winds now. Then abruptly it surpasses Category 5 to “atomic levels” of destruction. Yes, that’s the term the meteorologist uses. Perhaps KALB's First Alert Storm Team could explain this scientific terminology a lot better.

Bad scripting, bad dialogue, and bad acting from several supporting players plague the film as well. Still, all of this could be entertaining in an ironic sense had the film not committed its biggest sin: taking itself seriously. Sure there are moments of comedy and the filmmakers likely knew in some way that they were making a dumb movie, but they seem intent on this film being a legit roller-coaster ride and not the goofy “Sharknado” self-parody film the trailer was implying, with “Rock You Like a Hurricane” by the Scorpions playing in the background. Often stupidity trying to be serious can lead to plenty of unintentional laughs. There were some moments like that, but “The Room” of action movies this is not (that’s Samurai Cop anyway).

Yes, I am in fact criticizing this film for not being bad enough. I wanted to see rednecks drinking beer while shooting RPGs at foreign made cars loaded with cash in the middle of a superstorm with rock music playing the background. This movie should have had no shame. It should have gone for the title of “King of Suck”. Nope, it just goes for forgettable bad. Honestly, the best way to cap this film off is just speaking about the better bad moments:

•The film briefly shows the inside of the National Weather Center, which looks like the fantasy version of what a ten-year-old thinks it would look like with super futuristic looking graphics and monitors.

•When the money is making its way into town, they are stopped by the all the traffic that is leaving. What do the federal agents do? They ram into the civilian cars with smiles on their faces and drive into a tobacco field.

•The hero takes out some enemies by throwing hubcaps into the storm winds impaling baddies like they were blades to butter.

•One of the villain hackers is a woman that is for some reason dressed in a cocktail dress and heels. Serves no purpose but to have some sex appeal in the film because Maggie Grace is rightfully better than that. Also, the actress is horrible. She may be an adult film star that walked on set. I don’t know.

•The heroes hook themselves to some basic harnesses below a skylight window. When bad guys arrive, they shoot the glass so the storm sucks all the bad guys out. The heroes get sucked out too but the harnesses keep them dangling 50 feet in the air. However, the power of being pulled out and then stopped suddenly doesn’t seem to break either characters’ back or other bones. Actually, they probably don’t have bones at all as the CGI used to depict this makes them look like rubber dolls or Woody from “Toy Story”. Also, no debris hits them until they land on the roof and they literally have to run from it.

•The characters have a great moment of reflection while enjoying the marvels of PB and J sandwiches, which the meteorologist redneck just happened to have in his armored car of wonders. Made with Skippy brand peanut butter too, not Jiff as the film acknowledges.

•Our male hero and female hero take a moment to pee which they BOTH do while standing up. They both stand by pillars, they both drop zippers, and they both stand. As I said, one is a woman. Despite all the physics being thrown out the door in this film, this is the moment that needs a MythBusters episode.

(Spoilers...sort of)
•The climax features the heroes trying to stop 18-wheelers loaded with cash which are using the calm eyewall of the hurricane to escape. The eyewall itself is poorly rendered with those good old Syfy visual effects that seem to wobble in some shots. It also just seems to not exist in other shots.

•The filmmakers accidentally mistake a hurricane eyewall for a tornado that literally has to be outrun. That or the filmmakers are just dumb dumbs.

•Despite being in the eyewall area that the front half of the storm has already passed over, the landscape is completely dry and there is no debris anywhere despite the destructive “atomic” powers. This was shot on a clear, sunny day and it is obvious.

•The trailer of one truck gets detached, sucked up, and then body slams the actual rig and blows up. The CGI sucks more now by the way.

•Two trucks are parallel to each other and yet only one of them gets sucked up into the eyewall like cardboard. The other truck is fine because the heroes are on it.

•The heroes look into the eyewall and see the skull face that roars....again. I guess hurricanes have actual souls. Paranormal ones at that.

•The heroes actually outrun the eyewall which literally gives up chasing them and the Category 5 plus hurricane seems to just dissipate instantly as they ride off into a sunset.

The movie is bad. It’s sort of so bad it’s good, but not so bad it’s good enough. And no, “Rock You Like a Hurricane” is not in the movie at all. Lame. If you want something like this that is better, check out the 1998 film “Hard Rain” with Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, and Randy Quaid. It basically has the same plot, only it’s a big flood instead of a hurricane. It’s nothing fantastic, but it is entertaining and has better special effects then this 2018 movie.

Skip this unless you happen to be intoxicated. You probably weren’t going to see it anyway, if you have even heard of it. I think most agreed that it looked like garbage. Well, it’s “confirmed” garbage.


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