Heist Blu-ray Review
I have always liked heist movies. I think I enjoy all the planning that goes on in pulling off these jobs. Then we as an audience watch in anticipation to see if everything goes off as planned. Usually it doesn’t. INSIDE MAN, HEAT, THE ITALIAN JOB and the gritty THE BANK JOB were some of the films in the last two decades that hit the mark as far as good heist pics. Now we have the aptly titled HEIST coming around. But unfortunately for me and for whoever watches it, it falls flat in practically every avenue it takes.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan is the lead actor in this and he plays Luke Vaughn. Vaughn works at The Swan, a casino run by The Pope (Robert De Niro). The Pope is into shady dealings with some crime families and doesn’t like it when people steal from him. Early on we see how he delivers vengeance to two people who stole from the casino. His right hand man Derrick nicknamed “The Dog” (Morris Chestnut) dishes out punishment to get information and imposes final judgment on these people. The riverboat casino shown is so depressing and drab. They couldn’t have made the place a bit more lively?
Vaughn has a problem. His little girl is sick and needs to be on some list. That costs money and plenty of it. He goes to The Pope with this problem and hopes to borrow 300 grand from him. You can probably guess how that goes. The Pope turns him down and Vaughn gets very angry with him. The Pope had him do some nasty stuff and he wanted more consideration for getting his hands dirty. Vaughn gets himself fired and has a nasty chip on his shoulder.
This leads Vaughn to the crew of Jason Cox (Dave Bautista), Julian Dante (Stephen Cyrus Sypher) and the getaway driver Mickey (Tyson Sullivan). Cox is the ringleader and is also an employee at The Swan. He has noticed that the casino launders money for the crime families. So if they steal this money, The Pope won’t necessarily run to the cops about it and risk being caught in the laundering scheme. The heist is hatched in a diner with a clever use of condiments. Meanwhile The Pope is stepping down as owner of the casino. He wants to connect again with his daughter Sydney (Kate Bosworth). There is a lot of stuff with connecting with daughters in this movie. This storyline is quite thin and doesn’t really deserve any screen time.
The heist itself is so bland and unmoving. The security is quite lax for a casino like this. And wouldn’t the casino change its security codes after Vaughn gets fired? That would seem like the first thing I would do if this employee comes into contact with the counting room. It is laughable that it isn’t. There was just no amount of excitement in this scene. It involves just them putting the cash in duffle bags and having a firefight with the guards.
As you might surmise, the heist does not go as planned. The robbers have to hijack a bus filled with passengers. So now it becomes a hijack movie with a moving bus. “Speed” covered this terrain a lot better with better suspense. The bus is filled with characters that you come to expect. You have the pregnant lady. You must have the irritating guy. You also have the gung ho guy who is going to save the day. A frightened kid can do the trick as well. Everyone just plays their part to a tee. The people are being chased by Officer Kris Bajos (Gina Carano) and Detective Marconi (Mark-Paul Gosselaar). You just can’t make up these names. And of course they are also being chased by The Pope and The Dog.
The actions scenes are competent. They did film on an actual bus and an actual highway, so you get the realism there. You have a couple of twists in the end to show how clever they can be. Any person not half asleep can spot one of the twists a mile away. All in all this is just a nothing film that really goes nowhere. You can’t help comparing it to films like “Speed” which involved a bus and it pales in the comparison. I don’t know what De Niro was doing here. His character tries to be menacing and barks out orders. I just kept thinking that De Niro was counting his paycheck while delivering these lines. De Niro was in the terrific movie “Heat” which involved a bank heist and this movie feels like a junior high production compared to it. There is just nothing really that interesting about HEIST. It had the bones of something interesting with stealing from a riverboat casino and then it detours for some reason to a bus hijacking. That was a mistake.
HEIST is a joyless affair that is about as generic as its title. There is nothing new to be seen here. Let’s move along.
Video: The lighting seemed so drab at times. Everything was so drab here.
Audio: The sound was average. I did have to put on the closed captioning to get all the dialogue.
Deleted/Extended Scenes (4:08): There are six scenes in all. Most of them just fill in the blanks. They were only needed if you wanted to be spoon fed certain scenes.
The Making of Heist (15:11): The actors and filmmakers discuss the experience they had in making the film. The director wanted it to be as real as possible and no CGI. Everyone says it was such a thrill to be working with De Niro and what a coup it was landing him. The actors discuss various aspects of their characters and their motivations. De Niro and Bautista did not participate in this feature.
Director Scott Mann (7:29): He talks about what drew him to the project. He stated that no CGI was used. He used a real freeway and a real bus. He discusses what it was like to get Robert De Niro and what was involved in that.
Writer Max Adams (6:11): He discusses what it was like to write with fellow screenwriter Stephen Cyrus Sepher. It was a real collaboration and there was no ill will that he was brought on. He also talks about writing for Robert De Niro. He also talks about fathers and father figures and what part did that play in the movie. He goes over the general story as well.
Jeffrey Dean Morgan (4:26): He describes the film and his character. He also talks about Robert De Niro and the director. He also discusses how he was cast and working with Dave Bautista.
Kate Bosworth (4:43): She discusses her role and its importance to the character of The Pope. She relays what it was like working with De Niro. She also talks about working in Alabama and gushed about the director.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar (3:35): He talks about the story and the character. He didn’t want to go too much into his character’s background. That is odd to me since people usually go to these features after watching the film. But anyway, he also goes over working in Alabama and working in the elements.
Gina Carano (4:09): She discusses her character, story and the motivations of the cop. She sings the praises of the cast and crew. She talks about the bus and of working with the director.
Morris Chestnut (2:34): He discusses the story and working with De Niro. He talks about his favorite scenes and how this role is different than his other roles.
D.B. Sweeney (4:37): He goes over the elements of the film. He states what the title was before it was HEIST (It was Bus 657). I gather the name change came quite late in the game. He relays his interactions with the Adams and with Morgan. He also liked working with the other actors, new and seasoned.
Commentary with Director Scott Mann, Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Writer Max Adams: This is a fun commentary. It is very loose and informal. They seem to be having a great time. They discuss the scenes and the background of the film. It sounds like none of them liked the name change. Of course working with De Niro is gone over.