Sometimes, a movie comes along and you can’t decide if it’s the silliest or most awesome idea that can be put to screen. Either way, you know it’s going to be trash. The question is, is it going to be entertaining trash, or boring, or frustrating trash?
The story looks like it’s about a group of thieves planning to steal a ton of money from a vault guarded by a security officer on the eve of a hurricane coming their way.
Here’s the cast. Starring, we have Maggie Grace (THE CHOICE , TAKEN , TV show LOST [2004 – 2010], and the upcoming SUPERCON ), Toby Kebbell (WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES , FANT4STIC , THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE , ALEXANDER , and upcoming films DESTROYER  and BANKING ON MR. TOAD ), and Ryan Kwanten (KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM , FLICKA , TV show TRUE BLOOD [2008 – 2014], and the upcoming SUPERCON).
Now for the crew. Directing is Rob Cohen, known for THE BOY NEXT DOOR (2015), XXX (2002), DRAGONHEART (1996), and the upcoming SPEEDHUNTERS (2018). Co-writing the screenplay are Jeff Dixon, making his feature film debut (congrats, sir) and Scott Windhauser, known for stuff that I’ve never heard of. Composing the score is Lorne Balfe, known for 12 STRONG (2018), THE FLORIDA PROJECT (2017), 13 HOURS (2016), TERMINATOR GENISYS (2015), and the upcoming PACIFIC RIM UPRISING (2018). The cinematographer is Shelly Johnson, known for PERCY JACKSON: SEA OF MONSTERS (2013), CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER (2011), JURASSIC PARK III (2001), and the upcoming WELCOME HOME (2018). Finally, the editor is Niven Howie, known for STEP UP ALL IN (2014), DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004), and LOCK, STOCK, AND TWO SMOKING BARRELS (1998).
Overall, I do surprisingly like the cast. Grace was always great to watch in LOST and have always enjoyed seeing her in anything that she does. Kebbell is always welcomed, as I am a huge fan of his mocap work on the Apes franchise. And Kwanten was always a breath of comedic air in TRUE BLOOD, as well as watching him become Spider-Man villain Venom in his black and white short film. Having said all that, sometimes certain actors are attached to a movie and you know exactly what kind of movie it’s going to be: not good. None of these actors have been uber successful, attaching themselves to well-known, or well received films. Grace definitely had TAKEN (2008), Kebbell can certainly claim MONSTER CALLS (2016), and depending on who you are, maybe you enjoyed Kwanten in KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM. But Grace has also been in the Taken sequels, which weren’t well received, as well as a weird rendition of an Alice in Wonderland movie. Kebbell has also been in FANT4STIC and BEN-HUR (2016), and Kwanten has… well, not much else other than TV shows. The point is, these aren’t A-list actors, despite their talents deserving better stuff. Either way, this is either going to be a beautiful trainwreck, or… just a regular trainwreck.
This is my honest opinion of: THE HURRICANE HEIST
Set in Alabama. In 1992, brothers Will (Toby Kebbell) and Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) saw their father killed during a hurricane, but survived themselves. Fast forward to the present day, Breeze is a highly skilled mechanic and Will’s become a meteorologist and is predicting the largest hurricane seen in years. Meanwhile, a security team from the Treasury responsible for safeguarding old money that it about to be shredded is taken over by thieves. Problem is, getting into the safe proves difficult and the only person who can get in is Agent Casey (Maggie Grace), who has proven that she won’t be taken in without a fight.
Yup, this movie’s garbage. But thank heavenly Jesus, it’s the fun kind of garbage. Ehh, just muscle your way through the first fifteen, twenty minutes and it’ll work out the way you’d expect it to.
To start, the beginning of this movie is basically this generation’s TWISTER (1996). The set-up is pretty much the same. You have a family with little kids about to be hit by a huge storm, while the kids survive the storm, the father dies right in front of them, and one of them grows up chasing these very storms. Sounds awfully familiar, right? Of course, this movie is far more ridiculous. The hurricane is so strong that it practically pushes the house onto its side like a cartoon. Yet, if you look in the house itself, it’s more like a giant slide. It looks more fun than harrowing and the angle in which they’re sliding is clearly not the same angle as the house is in, in the far shots anyway. But do you want to know what the icing on the cake was? As the roof has been ripped clean off of the house, one of the kids looks up at the storm and sees, and I’m not kidding here, the dark clouds creating a screaming skull shape. Oh yeah, it was that kind of opening. Still, I knew what I was getting out of this movie, so I was having fun with it, despite the sheer stupidity.
It should come as no real surprise that this movie has pretty thin as hell characters with equally thin motivations. Will is the typical paragon of doing right, Breeze is the typical slacker with a sarcastic edge, and Casey is the typical wise-ass/bad-ass with a troubled history trying to make up for past mistakes, it’s generic all around. Again, I wish I’d rather see actors that I don’t like in these roles, but no, the acting is fine for the most part, despite the dull script.
If anyone steals the show, it’d be Conner (Ralph Ineson). This guy is such a silly, over-the-top bad guy. So much of his acting is staring menacingly at everyone, trying to be intimidating and scary, but it just comes off as… adorable. It transitions to becoming hilarious when he starts screaming at everyone. He’s closer to Sid from TOY STORY (1995) than Hans Gruber from DIE HARD (1988), a petulant child, not an exceptional thief. Delightfully over the top and phoning the crap out of this role.
I can definitely see Casey being a pretty unlikable character for some viewers as her intro scene is taking a giant armored six-wheeler, smashing into an innocent bystander’s car, pushing it out of the way, so she and the rest of her crew can drive by the traffic-infested area. Yeah, way fired after that stunt, so no matter what happens at the end, we know she’s not going to have a job. Also, for a government security agent, she’s incredibly stupid. I know that Will has his uses, but it’s still involving a civilian in a dangerous armed situation. I’m pretty sure she’d be able to confiscate his vehicle and at least make an attempt to take care of matters herself before realizing that he’s not going anywhere. But no, she accepts him on the spot. Also, for someone who is supposed to be the resident bad-ass of the movie, she sure needs a hell of a lot of saving. Both brothers at separate points show up in a car, save her from oncoming gunfire, and shout at her, “Get in!” Sad day in Disneyland when bad-ass women need to be saved by non bad-ass men. Then again, it is established that Casey’s not very good at her job. To be fair, there are some funny lines out of her. There’s a bit where she and Will are in a car chase being shot at and Will hatches a plan, and shouts at her, “Do you trust me.” The look on Grace’s face is absolutely priceless. She responds with, “Yeah, what the hell, Will!” Considering the myriad of options for her to choose from. I admit, I laughed.
To be fair, there is one human-like scene that I surprisingly enjoyed. There’s a bit where Casey and Will have survived a harrowing situation and find a place to hide from both the storm and the robbers. They get hungry and as it turns out, Will’s got some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches stashed away for separate days of the week. Casey is calling Will a nerd, they banter about their favorite peanut butter, it’s utter nonsense, but it’s the closest thing to a human interaction that this movie offers and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy the brief exchange.
One thing that this movie can definitely claim is that it’s far from boring. As soon as the plot takes off, the movie is almost nonstop action and ridiculousness. At some point, it’s revealed that everyone in the town’s police department was in on the heist, including the sheriff (Ben Cross). That was pretty laughable. The storm scenes were pretty fun. There’s one where Will comes up with an idea to thwart the enemy hackers from getting into the vault’s system by bringing down a local radio tower with his storm-chaser car and its winch. This was a pretty cool scene with Will getting blown away, hanging on for dear life to the cable while shit’s flying around him. There’s another scene that’s ripped straight out of the ending for TWISTER when some bad guys corner Casey and Will at the local mall and as the storm is at it’s most violent, Will shatters the skylight (I forget how), but all the bad guys get sucked into the storm, including Casey and Will. But they survive by the Bill Paxton belt logic: strapped to a harness as terrible CGI rag dolls are blowing in the wind. It’s utter bullshit, but I was dying of laughter.
Is there anything that legitimately made me upset? Eh, not really. Like I said, anything prior to the actual plot taking off runs the risk of being pretty stagnant, but it’s not too bad as the rest of the film is a ton of fun. So do I recommend it? Only if you’re in the mood for a fun, but bad flick. Do not go into this taking it seriously, or you will be disappointed. Set your standards way low. If you can do that, I think the entertainment value is worth it. The perfect storm of ridiculous to satisfy your craving for dumb fun.
My honest rating for THE HURRICANE HEIST: 4/5