This is the basic description of The Hurricane Heist: Under the threat of a hurricane, opportunistic criminals infiltrate a US Mint facility to steal $600 million for the ultimate heist.
Done. I’m in.
The Hurricane Heist is the kind of movie people who grew up in the ‘90s would appreciate. It’s an action movie set against the backdrop of mother nature’s wrath. This type of genre first became popular in the ‘70s, died off in the ‘80s when the likes of Arnold and Sly rose to prominence and then resurfaced in the summer of 1996 with the release of Twister. That was one of the biggest movies of that summer and because Hollywood is a copycat business, more movies like it followed.
The following summer saw the release of competing volcano movies, Dante’s Peak and the aptly titled, Volcano. The summer after that, we got a pair of asteroid movies in Deep Impact and Armageddon. There’s also a pair of lesser movies released that hold a soft spot in my heart.
Remember Broken Arrow? It was a John Woo action movie starring John Travolta. It also starred Christian Slater and to a lesser extent, Howie Long. Hollywood attempted to make both Slater and Long action stars with the release of Hard Rain and Firestorm. Both failed miserably at the box office, so they were never heard from again in the genre.
I bring both of those movies up not just to plug them, but because The Hurricane Heist reminded me so much of them. Heist is a $35 million early March release with director Rob Cohen ( The Fast and the Furious and xXx) behind the camera.
This is a movie that has zero aspirations of winning any awards. All it asks is for you to turn your brain off for 90 minutes and enjoy the ride. And did I ever.
The opening scene is basically the opening scene in Twister and the remainder of the movie is pretty much the plot of Hard Rain. But because I love both of those movies, I didn’t care.
Toby Kebbell stars as a meteorologist preparing for an impending storm. The scientific readings are telling him its going to be another routine storm. But his gut tells him this will be the storm of the century. And gut always wins in the movies. Between the Ben-Hur remake, his thankless role in Kong: Skull Island and this, Kebbell needs to hire a new agent.
Maggie Grace also stars as an ATF Agent whose job is to transport the money to the facility. I haven’t seen Grace in anything other than the Taken movies where she’s playing 15 years too young. In this she’s a pleasant surprise mixing great sarcastic humor with welcomed female badassery.
Kebbell and Grace’s paths meet once the facility is taken over and they must work together to not only prevent the robbers from succeeding, but also save Kebbell’s brother, played by True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten.
The reason this movie works for me is because it knows what it is. It embraces the ridiculousness. Death by hubcap, peanut butter and jelly jokes and outrunning a storm in a semitruck are just some of the things to look forward too.
Despite the small budget, Cohen reminds us that he’s a veteran of the action genre. The set pieces are confidently shot and the effects are passable. The finale even features terrific stunt work that reminded me of Cohen’s work on the first Fast & Furious movie. There’s also great chemistry between the main characters and even the bad guys have at least a little bit of depth besides just being bad.
The Hurricane Heist offers nothing new. It’s just a throwback action movie to a time when our heroes didn’t have super powers and the real villain was inclement weather. It moves at a great pace; the characters are likable and it also features one of my favorite things in movies: actors attempting to do southern accents.
So, if you need a break from superheroes and just want an easily-digestible action movie with absolutely no intention of world-building or sequels, check this out. You’ll love it, and then forget it the moment it leaves you until it resurfaces on cable next year for a second life.