The Hurricane Heist (2018)
The ultimate storm for the perfect heist.
I'm drawn to movies like the entry for tonight. A concept that's outrageous, and yet also somehow makes a lot of sense, but by it's very nature makes you go "well this ought to be stupid fun." It happens a lot to me - and most of the time I wait for home release to watch these movies, because the situation here is that it's just cheaper for me, and although I find high probability in enjoyment, they never feel like they necessitate the extra travel and pay for a larger screen with better sound options. Still, this hurricane caper came off as pretty corny when I saw the trailer, so lets find out if this hurricane really blows.
Surprise, I enjoyed it. No, really, I did. The nice thing about the situation here is that although I'm hesitant to use phrases like "I was engrossed," I feel that it's actually pretty well accurate. There was no points during the movie where I felt like it was dragging on, where I questioned how much longer I'd be here, or why I had to pay attention to these characters, or was just so upset with what was on the screen that I flung my hands up and wanted to walk away. No, the entire time this movie was going I was actually watching that screen and just having a good time. By all means, the actual core concept isn't all that stupid when you think of it - using a natural disaster as coverup for you mega-heist. It's actually, in a mad science sort of way, pretty genius. Who needs an elaborate ploy of getting together 13 different people to hit a casino when you can just time your strike to something that people are going to want to get away from - in this case a destructive hurricane? Who would even be around to inconvenience you at that point?
Now, I don't want to give too much credit here. Although they are throwing around all sorts of buzzwords and jargon, I wouldn't be surprised to find out a bunch of this stuff was just made up words that someone heard and was like "Oh hey, that sounds cool! We need to flark into the bjorkabjork to decrypt their megasecurity keypass roots!" Granted, I also don't know anything about weather outside "its hot" and "ah crap, it's wet," so just color me an idiot in a room of scientists and I wouldn't notice the difference from a lot of this movie. Even then, a lot of the situations in the movie are probably rather sensationalized over reality - as some of the more enjoyable movies are. It in all honesty reminds me a bit of if someone mashed Twister with an action-oriented heist movie, excelling at neither fields but still capturing all the fun you would expect.
The movie has it's cards that it tries to hold in reserve and surprise you with, but since you were never super-invested in whose actually engaged in the heist as much as the craziness you know is coming down the road, you never really get that "oh snap!" surprise moment you might have if the movie was a little less cheese and a little more straight arrow about things. To it's betterment, however, it keeps things fun. It's like a lot of those old action flicks I like, where half the time things don't make sense but they'll happen just so that great one liner can get squeezed in - although this one largely I feel lacks the puns and instead just plays out other "jokes" or levity instead. The movie itself knows that it's a bit of a ridiculous thing, but it isn't the sort where it informs it characters about it creating head-shaking moments such as something akin to the Sharknado series.
The actors here do a pretty decent job with things. They display a range of emotions, some selling certain ones better than others. There's a tad scoop of accents in there on the two brother characters, which i find enjoyable and not really distracting from the movie. Considering some of the characters are probably just a three word description for the actors to go off of, the supporting cast does a pretty decent job as well - although one could say they rarely get a chance to shine at all. Part of that is probably from the rather flat characterizations - we get to see some formative moment for the brothers at the start of the movie, but are simply exposition-dropped similar for the female lead, which makes her character feel a bit more forced in motivations. Nearly all the villains on display are just one-tone characters that we've seen again and again - but at the same time, a movie like this doesn't really demand a super elaborate creation. Much like the popcorn that's intended to be shoveled into your mouth, too many toppings is just going to muddy up the process.
The composition is pretty well done here on multiple fronts. It might not be a masterpiece by any means, but a good portion of the effects work looks great, including the bits that are obvious CG. There is some practical stuff in there as well, but in all honesty I don't feel like either of the types really steals the show and makes you focus so hard on it that it blows your mind. I kind of like this, as I would have expected most of this thing to be CG of varying quality with a few practical effects that stood out in comparison, but the nice blurring between them all helps make for a more seamless ride of fun - even if the hurricanes have a tendency of busting out a big spooky skull face in them as if to say "the Reaper comes for his dues." Also, I'm just a sucker for cars that are almost more heavy armored up plating than an actual car - and who hasn't looked at one of those nuts storm-chaser buggies and thought that it would be awesome to joy ride around in for a while?
Audio does a good enough job that it never felt bad. Despite intensifying storms or gunshots or anything of the sort, I never had any trouble understanding lines. I'd love to nitpick the movie apart more just so it doesn't sound like it's the best thing ever, but honestly I just didn't notice that many things while I was watching it. It flowed well, the visuals were anywhere from passing to cool, the actions is shot nicely with a little bit of shake for flavor where appropriate without turning into that Taken 3 fence scene, and the movie gave me exactly what I went into it expecting. The storm's carnage is great to watch. If anything, the weakest bit of the movie was probably the baddies being so generic, and the super over the top hackers, but it's one of those occasions where my mind was in the exact set that was probably envisioned for watching this movie, so not that many things jumped out as being terrible.
If you are looking for a movie that's one part environmental carnage and the other an action oriented heist movie, then this is probably for you. The trailer sells this as exactly what it is in my opinion - whichever trailer it was that I had seen anyways. It's polished enough that it looks fine and the ride is far less gusty in quality overall than it could have been. It has some light elements of trying to surprise you here and there, but most the time it comes of as rather inconsequential next to the massive force of nature adding pressure to the entire situation by blowing apart buildings and throwing cars around. It might not have a ton of depth to it's villains, but I'd wager if someone is just looking for something to sit down and devour some popcorn too whilst having a good time, this might be right up their alley.