by Adam Riske
I should start off this review by saying that I went into director Rob Cohen’s latest, The Hurricane Heist, hoping it would be so bad it’s good. In my defense, all signs pointed to it being just that. The premise is dopey, the cast is not what you usually see in a studio movie (can we call Entertainment Studios a “studio” yet?) and the trailer made the film look like a new television series that premieres on Fox after Giants-Cowboys. So, I was surprised to come out of the movie feeling not much of anything. It’s not good, but it’s not embarrassing. It’s stupid, but it’s not funny. It’s not exciting, but it’s competent. I sat there looking everywhere for somewhat ironic nuggets and came up with very little. There’s a 30-second discussion about what brand of peanut butter the hero uses in his PB & J, but that’s about all. It goes like:
Maggie Grace: “Is this Jif peanut butter?”
Toby Kebbell: “I’m a Skippy man.”
Maggie Grace: “But Smuckers jelly?”
Toby Kebbell: “Correctamundo.”
White House Down and First Knight’s Ben Cross as the town sheriff is trying something with his character that works like a gator under a bear bridge because that dog don’t hunt. Maggie Grace on the other hand, we need to discuss.
The action sequences are fine. There’s a lot of quick editing so stuff just happens and you have to process it for a second to make sense of it all. The movie was shot in Bulgaria (doubling for coastal southern) and it looks like rainy Bulgaria. It’s not the usual slick Universal Rob Cohen stuff from the ‘90s and early ‘2000s, but he makes the $35M film appear it costs at least that much. The storm special effects and stunts are actually quite good, skull face storm clouds aside. There is one stunt that bothered me, though (you can see it in the trailer). It’s a scene towards the end where Kebbell and Kwanten are jumping from their car onto an 18-wheeler carrying $200M and Kwanten jumps at a trajectory where he absolutely should have been roadkill but somehow (through trick photography?) makes it enough where Kebbell can grab him. It’s weird. It looks like in a video game where you face plant off a cliff but the “computer” helps you by rolling your ass over a hill to safety.
Taken. Whenever she was on screen in The Hurricane Heist, I was awake. I used to write a column called “Stars That Turned the Corner” but I stopped because though the intention was nice, I thought it seemed condescending, like the actor owed it to me to be a certain way and I had rewarded them for finally doing so. I bring that up just because I think The Hurricane Heist is the movie that has made me on Team Maggie Grace. As for Rob Cohen, I’ll say this. This movie pales by comparison to some of his prime work like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Dragonheart or The Fast and the Furious, but it’s a perfect choice for a future double bill with his own Daylight as the headliner. If that’s not a mild non-recommendation, then I don’t know what is. This movie’s legacy will be a film that someone rents someday from Redbox but can’t return because all the kiosks in the region were lost to a hurricane.