Sunday, March 18, 2018

Review of THE HURRICANE HEIST: Windswept and Wacky

March 17, 2018

It seems that there should at least be one disaster movie every year, and this year it is this one. These newer ones try to inject elements of other film genres to somehow make them more distinctive, which may or may not succeed.  Last year, they tried to make "Geostorm" also a political thriller, but in vain. This year, the descriptive title itself already tells us that there would be a crime caper somewhere in there. 

The small town of Gulfport, Alabama was going to be hit by Category 5 Hurricane Tammy. Criminals take advantage of this severe weather disturbance to steal trucks full of dollar bills about to be shredded in the Treasury facility nearby. With the wild winds working in their favor, spunky government agent Casey teamed up with a pair of estranged brothers, gung-ho meteorologist Will and drunkard ex-Marine Breeze, to thwart their sneaky heist.

After only seeing his name credited as the antagonistic ape Koba in the rebooted "Planet of the Apes" series, now we actually see the face of British actor Toby Kebbell who played the lead character of Will. This character became a meteorologist as a result of witnessing (as a child) his father die in a destructive hurricane. Reminiscent of a previous disaster film "Twister," Will is also a storm-chaser, as he charges into the eyes of storms with his trusty armored weather-monitoring vehicle to gather data.  

Playing Casey is Maggie Grace, a staple of several B-films like this before, like the "Taken" series, where she played Liam Neeson's daughter. Casey also had a little backstory of her own about a tragic mishap she blamed herself for. She got to figure in a lot of stunts and action scenes here, most notable of which was a hair-raising one where she shot the glass ceiling of a mall wide open so the hurricane sucked out all the bad guys into the grey yonder, while she and partner Will were secured by harnesses. 

The actors playing the criminals were largely of the motley generic sort. However, the misplaced over-the-top glamor of Melissa Bolona (as the hacker girl Sasha) stood out with her one-shoulder green-tinged mini-dress. As absurd as that sounds, it was actually quite a riot to watch her steal her cheesy scenes and hear her deliver her crazy lines. 

Elsewhere among the bad guys is British actor Ben Cross, as the corrupt sheriff who made sure that his town was totally evacuated for the storm so he could execute his evil plans. It is interesting to consider how Cross, who once had a lead role in an Oscar Best Picture winner "Chariots of Fire" early in his career, could wind up playing a two-bit crooked redneck cop in a film like this is.

Director Rob Cohen had directed exhilarating action films before like "The Fast and the Furious" (2001) and "xXx" (2002), so he knew how to milk the excitement out of his material. In fact, it was his connection with these two films that served as the main selling point of this new film. Definitely this is one of those movies that have very shallow reasons for existing, just mindless action and nothing more. You know it is going to be bad, but you might actually get a kick out of watching it. 4/10. 

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