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Title: Heist

Movie: :2.5stars:
Video: :3.5stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :2stars:

HTS Overall Score:66

The theme of heists has been around since the advent of media. Man has constantly dreamed of ways to stick it to the “man” and make off with the evil 1%ers loot. We’ve seen in in “Ocean’s 11” (both iterations), “Heat”, the list goes on and on. The only thing is that some people pull off the genre better than others. There’s about a billion (ok slight overstatement) titles in IMDB that have the name of “Heist” in the title and many of them of varying in quality greatly. This time around director Scott Mann (who’s made such wonderful films like “The Tournament”) makes a fairly competent thriller that manages to borrow from films like “Speed”, “Heat” and even a tad of “Ocean’s 11” to get the job done. The acting in film varies quite a bit depending, but I was actually surprised that the film wasn’t 100% garbage. There’s twists and turns that are advertised quite obviously, but DeNiro manages to emote a few times and Jeffrey Dean Morgan does the best he can with the pedestrian script given to him.

Luke Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is having a bit of a rough weekend. His daughter is in the hospital in need of back surgery, and his funds are drying up. He only works as a card dealer at “The Swan”, a boating casino just on the edge of town and his income is nowhere near able to keep up with the insane costs of the medical industry. At the same time, the owner of the casino, Mr. Pope (Robert DeNiro) is getting ready to retire and let go of his life’s work. He’s made a fortune at “The Swan”, but he’s made a lot of enemies along the way, including his own wife and daughter. Luke is at the end of his rope and ready for anything when Mr. Pope refuses him a loan to save the life of his daughter, despite having a bit of a past with Luke. Furious at the mobster/owner, Luke teams up with security guard, Cox (Dave Bautista) and a few of his goons to steal some illegitimate gains from Mr. Pope and his crew.

As with most plans of mice and men, things go a bit haywire when Mr. Pope’s second in command, Dog (Morris Chestnut) catches the crew stealing $3 million and chases them down. Hijacking a bus out of desperation, the crew thinks they’re in the clear. That is until Officer Kris (Gina Carano) sees the hijacking in action and sets out in pursuit of the vehicle. Realizing they’re trapped in a moving coffin, Cox starts getting frantic and calls in a favor from a guy he knows in Texas who can get them out. Now it’s hoping they can keep control of the bus and cop’s chasing them before it’s too late and they’re out of luck and out of gas.

There’s a few twists and turns along the way (some you saw coming, some you didn’t), but the concept of “Heist” is a fairly generic one that borrows from the escapades of quite a few films, “Speed” being the biggest one. I mean, getting on a bus and making a run for it and refusing to slow down is KIND OF a bit of a dead giveaway. The film plays out exactly as you would have guessed, with Gina Carano’s character playing the nice liaison between the rough and tumble police officers who are ready to blow up the vehicle and the lone sane voice of Luke Vaughn. Cox is ready to go off kilter at any moment and he’s got a bunch of passengers he can take out his rage on.

As I said, there are some twists and turns along the way, but the film plays out largely as expected. Vaughn is the good guy here, amongst a crew of very bad men, in an effort to get his daughter the money she needs to get the surgery. As easy as the premise is, there is a LOT of stupidity and plot contrivances along the way. The foreknowledge of Vaughn to calculate every step that the cops and the criminals would take so as he could set up all of this beforehand and what not just seemed beyond ridiculous. Even the actions of the people as they pulled some Helsinki syndrome stuff with their captors and helped Vaughn make his inevitable escape. It’s simple, but it’s a little too simple as the plot works around a bunch of been there done that stuff and “it went to smoothitis”.


Rated R for violence, pervasive language and some sexual content

Video :3.5stars:
Shot with Digital RED cameras, “Heist” looks a little bit underwhelming to say the least. The title screen is full of digital artifacting from the cameras and the rest of the film doesn’t exactly clean up that much. There are moments throughout where the yellow splotching and smearing kept all of the fine detail from being present on screen and viewable. At other times it really clears up and you can see quite a bit, despite a thin layer of gauzy softness over the entirety of the film. Blacks are hazy and definitely look a bit rough in terms of clarity as crush is pretty prevalent throughout the whole film. Close-ups look reasonably well defined and long shots have a bit more softness to them than expected.

Audio :4stars:
Luckily the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track enclosed on the disc doesn’t suffer from the same problems that the video does. It’s a loud and aggressive track from the very get go. Big wallops of LFE wash across the listening position at all times in the movie, whether it be a heavy downbeat, a gunshot going off, or the crash of a vehicle smashing through a road block. Dialog is crisp and clear as usual, with only a few very small points in the movie where I heard some cracking and distortion on the dialog. Surrounds are pretty active, with a bunch of ambient passenger noises on the bus flooding back, as well as quite a few gun shots and other sundry sonic bits making their presence known. I have to say that as wild and frenetic as the track is, it didn’t has the nuances and little bits of detail that would have made it a stellar track. Which really isn’t surprising considering that it IS a DTV movie.

Extras :2stars:

• Commentary with Director Scott Man, Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Writer Max Adams
• The Making of Heist
• Deleted/Extended Scenes
• Cast-Crew Interviews

Overall: :3stars:

I didn’t enjoy “Heist” that much, but I didn’t hate it either. It falls in that middle of the road grooves that allow it to just keep on chugging. The acting isn’t anything special, but Jeffrey Dean Morgan manages to keep himself rather palatable, despite the inclusion of the emotionless Gina Carano and Dave Bautista’s overacting. Audio is quite nice, and while the video is a bit rough here and there, it’s at least livable. While the extras aren’t exactly top notch, they are still there and are actually rather interesting. Worth a cheap rental at the very least.

Additional Information:

Starring: Dave Bautista, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Robert DeNiro
Directed by: Scott Mann
Written by: Stephen Cyrus Sepher
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Lionsgate
Rated: R
Runtime: 93 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 29th 2015

Buy Heist On Blu-ray at Amazon

Recommendation: Cheap Rental

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