Warning signs that you may not have enough money to film a “heist” picture.
If the only place to set the “bank” your gang of actors is knocking over is the low-rent warehouse district. Where there would never be a bank branch.
If you can’t afford blanks for your firearms, and have to super-cheap it by digitally editing in muzzle flashes in post-production.
If the only “name” you can land for the cast is rocker-poet and-oh-by-the-way “actor” Henry Rollins.
“The Last Heist” steps up to the plate with those three strikes, and while Rollins doesn’t let down the side, it pretty much goes downhill from there. It’s an 84 minute walk-don’t-run-through of a thriller, a heist-splatter hybrid directed with no style and no urgency, attitudes the director imposes upon the unfortunate cast.
A gang of seven is stuffed into a white transit van. They’re parked in a neighborhood with no housing, no businesses, only warehouses. There’s a bank, with a “security” gate in front. And as they wait for their moment, they see the scariest pedestrian on Planet Earth in a place with NO pedestrians.
“Civilian,” they mutter. But that’s no civilian. That’s Henry Rollins, in black suit, black trench coat (in LA!), dark sunglasses and…dude, where did you get those SHOES?
He’s a bank customer. The branch is closing, and he has to close out his safety deposit box.
But no sooner has he started emptying that out, in the vault, than the gang bursts in wearing and frightens the two customers in the lobby, and the two bank employees. Only, not that much. Nobody looks frightened. The gang must have a calming effect. They don’t seem to be in much of a hurry, or have any sense of urgency at all about this.
And it’s not just about who they’re robbing.
The inevitable “You know who owns this place?” is answered with “Sure we do, that’s half the fun!”
The gang is a rainbow coalition of actors playing thugs — white, black, young, older, male and badass females (Kristina Klebe, Camilla Jackson). They’re code-named “Echo 1, Echo 2,” etc. But Paul (Torrance Combs), their leader, recognizes the assistant bank manager.
Off comes the mask, and Paul and Danny (Michael Aaron Milligan) bond like the long-lost-brothers they are.
The logic of that coincidence pales if you get hung up on his using their real names and taking his mask off…in front of HOSTAGES.
Thank heavens we’re redirected into the vault, where it turns out the preacher-like bank customer played by Rollins has a secret.
“I just need a moment of your time,” is but his introduction. He’s The Window Killer, a murderer who leaves his victims with their eyes gouged out. Guess where he stores those eyes.
The cops who mosey up to an expected armed robbery (Victoria Pratt is lead saunterer) don’t know that upon arrival.
So you’ve got a gang of bored armed robbers, trapped in a stand-off with bored cops, stuck with unafraid hostages inside a rambling, ventilation-shaft riddled “bank” with a knife-wielding serial killer.
Rollins makes what he can of this nutjob, cutting his victims, telling how long before they bleed to death, begging to know, “What’s it FEEL like?”
The rest of the cast take their queues from director Mike Mendez. It’s a movie that passes slowly, like a kidney stone. Even when he isn’t over-using slow-motion, it feels like we’re watching slo-mo. Mendez makes his living as a film editor. How? This isn’t a movie, it’s a still-life. Nervous energy and suspense can be supplemented in the editing. Not here.
The script is a cut-and-pasting of random thriller cliches and hoary thriller one-liners.
“You’re playing with the Big Boys, detective. This is how we roll!”
Sorry to get that mean, but gallons of blood and quarts of cliches later, we awaken for a finale that we’ve long since despaired of caring about. All this “heist” has stolen is our time.
MPAA Rating: unrated, with graphic violence and gallons and gallons of blood, and profanity
Cast: Henry Rollins, Torrance Combs, Victoria Pratt,John J. York, Faye DeWitt, Camilla Jackson, Kristina Klebe
Credits: Directed by Mike Mendez, script by Guy Stevenson. An XLRator release.
Running time: 1:24