So America’s major cinema chains got together and started their own movie production company, Entertainment Studios. And what these geniuses decided that they needed for their screens was a “Sharknado” without sharks. Or jokes.
What audiences are clamoring for and not getting on the big screen is a soft-headed “Hard Rain,” a heist picture with bad plotting, tin-eared dialogue, a no-name cast and bad acting — underlined with some seriously inauthentic Southern accents.
As if Hollywood couldn’t manage that level of crappy on its own.
“The Hurricane Heist” is about a heist in a hurricane. It’s that “title tells the whole story” that sells it, right?
A huge hang of thieves with their own fleet of semis wants to raid a Treasury depository in Gulf Shores, Alabama. They aim to do this in the middle of an “off-the-charts” hurricane landfall, in essence taking over the town, making hostages of Federal agents and National Guard troops while Mother Nature blows everything away.
What they hadn’t reckoned on was not capturing the one Fed (Maggie Grace of the “Taken” franchise) who has the combination to the vault. What they REALLY hadn’t counted on is intrepid local stormchaser/Weather Service drawler Will (Toby Kebbell) and his “Dominator” hurricane-proof SUV.
We’re treated to chases through the valleys of Bulgaria, with mountains plainly behind the tight-focus close-ups of the drivers. It’s supposed to be the pancake-flat Alabama coastal plain. We hear all manner of folks-who-ain’t-Southern (including “Chariots of Fire” hero Ben Cross, as a sheriff) doing that Elizabethan stage version of Southern accents.
“Thut’s tha AYE o’the STORM, a BRAT sunny DYE in the middle’o HELL!”
Will has a brother in the military whom he passes instructions to as ol’ football signals — “Red Dawg on TWO.” Something like that.
And to be fair, we’re also treated to a few cool effects — a cargo ship battered against a sea wall, a hurricane eye-wall worthy of a “Wizard of Oz” remake. And since this is a Rob “Fast and the Furious” Cohen film, there’s a semi-truck race against the storm, with digitized stunts hurling characters from vehicle to vehicle with a boiling cauldron of black, blue and grey swirling up on them from behind.
Aside from those random moments, this is an utter excrement storm, from start to finish. And as bad as the acting, nonsensical plot and dialogue are, there’s not a laugh in this thing — intentional or unintentional.
Whoever the theater chains put in charge of this “studio,” “Hurricane Heist” makes one thing obvious. He knew suckers when saw them reaching for their wallets.
MPAA Rating:PG-13 for sequences of gun violence, action, destruction, language and some suggestive material
Cast: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ben Cross
Credits:Directed by Rob Cohen, script by Jeff Dixon, Scott Windhauser. An Entertainment Studios release.
Running time: 1:40