I use hands to help my fellow man / I use hands to help with what I can / But when I face an unjust injury / Then I change my hand into FIST OF FURY

The Hurricane Heist

Note: the correct title is , in the FAST AND FURIOUS font

The only thing wrong with HURRICANE HEIST is that it’s actually called , and that “the” throws off the alliteration. But I’m betting this thing was written as, like, CATEGORY 5 or IN THE EYE OF THE STORM or something and then director Rob Cohen (DRAGON: THE BRUCE LEE STORY, DRAGONHEART, THE MUMMY: TOMB OF THE DRAGON EMPEROR) said “Are you stupid? This needs to be called . Unless I can talk you into DRAGONWIND?”

Of course I knew I needed to see a new movie from the director of STEALTH, ALEX CROSS and xXx called . Duh. That’s obvious. What I did not know I needed was Toby Kebbel (DEAD MAN’S SHOES, DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, FANTASTIC FOUR) playing redneck meteorologist Batman. After witnessing his dad getting smooshed by a hurricane as a child, Will Rutledge grows up to fight weather in a high-tech practically-a-tank car he calls The Dominator. It has armor-plating, roll bars, flood lights and retractable spikes that can claw into cement.

When Will predicts a superstorm coming he tries to get his alcoholic ex-Marine brother Breeze (Ryan Kwanten, RED HILL) to leave town with him, but Treasury agent Casey Corbyn (Maggie Grace, TAKEN, FASTER, LOCKOUT) shows up at the same time to get him to repair a generator for the Treasury department. Little do they know it’s broken because a heavily armed team of corrupt agents and mercenaries are trying to steal $600 million in bills that were supposed to be shredded, and they need a vault code that only Casey knows. So it turns into a battle.

Will uses the hurricane like super powers. He throws hubcaps at a guy and they fly around like I COME IN PEACE discs. During a stand-off in a mall he shoots out the skylights and everybody gets sucked out like xenomorphs out an airlock, but he and Casey are attached to cables so the fly like kites and then upside-down-rope-climb their way down.

Hats off to writers Anthony Fingleton & Carlos Davis (DROP DEAD FRED) and Scott Windhauser (COPS AND ROBBERS) and Jeff Dixon (a producer of workout videos) for a nice range of dialogue from funny-bad to funny-clever. There are plenty of tell-not-show lines like “I’ve never known anyone so afraid of what fascinates him,” but also exchanges that I thought were intentionally, successfully funny. “I ran out of bullets!” “How’d that happen?” “I shot ’em all!”

A big help is that Kebbell and Grace have a good chemistry and make the stupidest things funny. When he shares his stash of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches she asks if it’s Jif. “Nah. I– I’m a Skippy guy. So it’s Skippy.” You’d have to hear it. It’s all in his delivery. I’d consider myself a fan of Kebbell and this shows that he has more range than I realized. I don’t think I’ve seen him be funny like this before.

Kwanten is good too, and it’s fun to hear an Englishman and an Australian doing more acceptable thick southern accents than most American actors seem to be able to pull off.

Anyway, the only thing that can kill a hurricane is a reverse hurricane, so they have to open a portal to no just kidding this just turns into a truck chase. But I like that. Last time Cohen made a movie about people transferring from vehicle to vehicle it turned into a franchise that has made $1.239 billion to date (plus a Universal Studios theme park attraction and plans for two final chapters, a spin-off and an animated series), so he thought you know what happens during hurricane heists? Alot of transferring from vehicle to vehicle. The climactic battle across a caravan of semi-trucks helps sum up why this is a solid b-movie. It’s got a great mix:

a) special effects shit – all kinds of elaborate disaster movie digital effects of the wind blowing shit around, sucking trucks up, etc.

b) the old fashioned shit – real stunt men doing crazy jumps and walking on top of trucks and stuff

c) the dumb shit – gimmicks like the brothers using a football play they both know to “cut off the runner” in the other truck (a development we’ve all been waiting for since the opening scene, when their father makes them study football plays during Hurricane Andrew)

d) a little bit of heart – they actually try to rescue two hackers who were with the heisters but didn’t shoot anybody

e) originality – as many times as I’ve seen people drive a truck really fast and then one guy climbs out the window and across the hood and leaps and grabs onto another truck, I’ve never seen the driver then accelerate and climb out himself and hope to jump before the truck slows down or swerves

f) elbow grease – and then they put in all kinds of legitimately clever touches like after they get on top of the truck we can see their now abandoned truck in the background as they have a conversation and you can’t help but watch it drift and keep almost driving off the street until it’s finally out of sight. And details like he shoots through a window and climbs in and then when he climbs out he shuts the door and the remaining shards of glass around the edge fall out (an artificial looking effect, but I appreciate the attention to detail).

A note about a: In 1996, Jan de Bont’s TWISTER was a massive hit. It made $494 million worldwide, second only to INDEPENDENCE DAY that year. Most people didn’t consider it a very good movie, but a movie about a tornado made with the new digital effects was exciting enough that everybody wanted to see it. So it’s funny that the technology has advanced so much that now a lower budget and totally disreputable movie like can do that same shit better and nobody cares. It’s just kind of the background to this heist plot.

I also need to mention that the score for this is way cooler than expected or needed. For a while it’s got this cool synthy thing going that sounds like TRON LEGACY. It gets more Hans Zimmery as it goes along and sure enough the very prolific composer has a “music department” credit on INCEPTION, so he’s one of Zimmer’s ten thousand acolytes who now make their own Hans Zimmer scores. But this one is pretty good. Better than expected, anyway.

Please keep ’em coming, Rob Cohen. His next one is supposed to be SPEEDHUNTERS, by a writer from Eastbound & Down. “A colorful team of racers and crew get caught into High intrigue around a revolutionary technology threatening to change the world as we know it,” according to IMDb. I bet I know what font it will use.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 28th, 2018 at 2:22 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

32 Responses to “The Hurricane Heist”

  1. Glad to see you liked it as well, Vern. I hope people will appreciate this in the years to come.

  2. The concept for this reminds me of larger-scale HARD RAIN, where a team of criminals led by Morgan Freeman uses a massive storm to try and pull off an armored car heist against. It was from that brief period of time where they were trying to make Christian Slater into an action guy. I caught it on HBO or something a few months ago and it was actually a lot more clever than I remembered, with some genuine twists and turns in the plot. Came out in ‘98, too, so- coincidence! January rather than summer, but worth a revisit.

  3. Kurgan, Hard Rain is one of my favorite movies. I watch it at least once a year whenever it rains. I call it Die Hard in a Flood, whereas Hurricane Heist is definitely The Fast and the Furious in a hurricane. Only the thieves are the bad guys.

  4. The box office failure of The Hurricane Heist is why we can’t have nice things.

  5. I saw this in theatres (in a pretty empty theatre) and I enjoyed it thoroughly. I can’t remember much about it this many weeks later, but I remember that. So I think it did its job.

  6. It was worth a ticket to see Ben Cross do a Southern accent.

  7. I saw this opening night.

    Also, Kurgan, this movie is about the same scale as Hard Rain.

  8. My wife is a mega-fan of disaster movies, so I KNOW this one is in our future.

  9. My mother WAS a huge fan of tornado movies, but since Germany got more and more tornadoes (although so far none in my area) and she one day woke up to an extremely heavy hailstorm, she is now too traumatized by bad weather and will definitely never ever watch this.

    I however can’t wait. Seems like a lot of fun.

  10. Sadly this isn’t even a full DTV release in the UK, a movies channel is making it a subscriber exclusive (they did the same with the new Clive Owen film, and The Tale). Obviously I subscribed for a month to make sure I could watch, as I was not gonna miss The Hurricane Heist for the world.

    On some level I think maybe they didn’t get the budget they needed – some of the storm scenes and the floods etc looked really good. The meat and potatoes filmatism suffers a bit, the non-set-piece scenes look kinda perfunctory, a bit like a mid-season filler episode of NCIS or something.

    But there was a heist during a hurricane so all is forgiven. I think the human kite scene maybe over-egged it a little more than they needed – and the criminals were putting a lot of faith in those truck doors not getting tugged open by the wind – but it is hard to go after a movie called The Hurricane Heist on plausibility grounds.

  11. I was happy to see this in the theater. Toby Kebbell and Ryan Kwanten should make more movies together, preferably with Rob Cohen directing, like say, “The Volcano Heist”, or “The Typhoon Heist,” “The Tropical Storm Theft,” The Avalanche Assault.” On a related note. I really enjoyed Ryan Kwanten’s “Blunt Force Trauma” where he stands in a circle and gets hit by bullets, usually in Mexico, with Frida Pinto.

  12. Hey, this DOES sound fun.

    But I can’t quite get on the Rob Cohen love train, STEALTH is one of the dumbest movies ever made and DRAGONHEART is one of those movies that’s not good, but you at least wish it was (then again it’s been a LONG time since I’ve seen it)

    Trouble is with a movie like this is these days if a movie is not something that people don’t already know what it is, they will NOT see it, a movie can not be sold on high concept alone anymore, which is really too fucking bad.

    Also I’ll go to bat for TWISTER being a perfectly fine movie.

  13. And by the way, I’m sorry to sully our [F&Ffont]THE HURRICANE HEIST[/F&Ffont] talk but I gotta ask….

    Are you skipping a review of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM? I’m curious about your thoughts and would like to share mine.

  14. fwiw Griff I thought Fallen Kingdom was awful. I think they should’ve taken a run at it with new characters rather than bring back Owen [?] and Claire [?i feel like these are their names, can’t remember for sure] – JW had the unfortunate effect of seemingly not noticing that its leads were both boring but also very awful people – pity cos they’re both capable actors.

    The whole film is like some other, better picture’s b-plot – kind of a consequence of it being obviously a bunch of stuff they’d jumbled together to get the players where they needed to be for the coming part 3. So tbh my feelings there are that if they wanted to make that movie they should’ve just reeled off the volcano evacuation and

    [BIG ASS SPOLERS FOR JURASSIC WORLD 2 ONCOMING… BE WARNED]

    …have them get loose across America in a 5 minute prologue. That really would’ve been all the set-up they needed.

    The little girl’s sub-plot/arc was also a bit rubbish, and they’re getting way too cute with the raptor.

    I think overall these films are like short on wonder now. It surprises me that they haven’t thought about a way to capture those small moments again, like for instance seeing the impact of some of the sea-dinos that got loose on, like, indigenous communities etc. There are really obvious ways to broaden the palate of these movies without just 3D printing motorbike hunk man to do the usual moves. Seen it all before.

    On the plus side tho, some pretty shots – one moment in particular on the island that I think everyone can agree is oddly beautiful – and there’s far more craft on display than we saw in, say, Rampage. I think Trevorrow on scripting duties is a real dead weight tho.

    TBH they just make me think the Star Wars sequel trilogy’s comparative quality is a real miracle.

  15. This one was a lot of fun and glad I made it one of my four movies I bothered to see in theaters this year. At times still feels like a bigger and better sequel to TWISTER. Would have seen it a second time but no one else wanted to go.

    Re: FALLEN KINGDOM, I hated JURASSIC WORLD so much that even the talk of it being a haunted house movie but with dinosaurs can’t make me bother to go to the theaters for it (a first for a JURASSIC movie for me). It’s only partially related to me having to the theaters anymore (only seen this one, DEATH WISH, TOMB RAIDER, FRIDAY THE 13TH PART 3D IN 3D, andNCREDIBLES 2 in theaters this year, used to go practically once a week or bi-weekly)

  16. I have not seen JURASSIC WORLD: THE LOST PARK yet, but I hope to soon.

  17. Hope you review Alicia Vikander’s TOMB RAIDER, Vern I’ve already forgotten about JURASSIC WORLD

  18. Skip TOMB RAIDER, it’s hot garbage.

  19. Don’t listen to Griff, TOMB RAIDER wasn’t great but it was enjoyable with some great stunt work and sequences. It’s biggest sin is not being half as good as Roar Uthaug least film (all of his have great).

  20. Hey, Free Dummy

    July 1st, 2018 at 7:09 am

    As a Southerner I’ve always found it weird how much better Brits and Ozzies are at doing a southern accent than most American actors. I wonder if its that they actually study the accent while Americans just assume they know it and end up doing a Foghorn Leghorn impersonation that sounds like exactly no one I ever met growing up in the south. The worst is probably when actors try to do a New Orleans accent and they either do the Foghorn Leghorn thing or Adam Sandler’s Cajun Man, while the real accent sounds way closer to a Brooklyn accent.

  21. Hey, Free Dummy: us Southerner s together strong!

  22. So do you guys agree that Kebell and Kwanten’s accents were pretty good?

    (and yes, I will review TOMB RAIDER)

  23. Sounded good to me.

  24. Definitely.

  25. I’m a big fan of the 2013 Tomb Raider game the movie is based on and as a fan the movie jettisons almost everything that was interesting about the game, so I fucking hate it.

    But even divorced from that it’s certainly nothing great, it just feels kinda cheap and boring.

  26. I really liked the game as well and will admit to being disappointed they went with a traditional (read: ripped off BATMAN BEGINS) origin story and they decided to make it ‘grounded’ (like BATMAN BEGINS) and got rid of the supernatural elements. Also I was expecting a movie that was more relentless survival (like the game).* I know I’m not selling the movie very well but for what they did give us I enjoyed it and I’ve forgiven other action movies for far less.

    *The only time the movie really matches the game in that regard is it’s best sequence: the a abandoned plan part. How/Why did they not adapt the most tense nail-biting moment if the game with the radio tower sequence?!

    In conclusion, HURRICANE HEIST is fun and TOM RAIDER is at least rental worthy

  27. I thought Vikander was too slight of build to play Lara but she surprised me here. Sold me on Lara’s toughness and tenacity.

    Previously i only liked her in The Man From UNCLE. She was totally wooden in Jason Bourne.

  28. I watched a bunch of her artier fare before watching it but I had faith they would make her a movie badass. I really enjoyed her in the movie and seems it tanked (not sure what the international gross is) so I’m kinda bummed we won’t get to see her raid anymore tombs probably. I was really rooting that movie because I like female action hero leads and thought it would be cool to get a big modern movie series that wasn’t a superhero one and instead of one that was closer to the badass stuff we like here. Alas, like HURRICANE HEIST, the audience is no longer into these type action movies.

  29. Griff- Rob Cohen is an enigma in that he seems liike a genuinely intelligent man, but his films are often downright moronic in ways that trenscend their lowbrow ambitions or even his tacky style; that’s also what gives them gawp value. It’s been suggested that the SEALTH script was meant to be essentially the kind of unconvential tongue-in-cheek, sort-of-satire you would expect from the co-creator of BUCKAROO BANZAI, but Cohen just didn’t get it and made xXx 2: BUT NOT THE ACTUAL XxX2

  30. geoffreyjar – TOMB RAIDER actually did moderately well in overall. $273.5 million on a $94 million budget. Most of it from overseas.

  31. Pacman2.0 – That would explain why STEALTH felt more like a movie from 1992 instead of 2005.

  32. 2002 maybe; there’s only one decade where a sentient plane would rebel by cranking Incubus. If it had been Stan Bush or something we’d probably all like it a bit more.

    As for FORBIDDEN KINGDOM I was very taken with the opening scene; silly yes, but suspensful, atmospheric and intriguing. Sadly, they follow it with a scene that’s the exact opposite (a fucking news broadcast!) and it never regains the promise of that opening scene. What it does do is turn into a big budget (if still bafflingly cheap feeling) CARNOSUAR rebootquel in its final third, which is a lot of fun. Not sure why they went that way, not sure it’s what I hoped for going in, but I wasn’t sorry I saw it.

    I agree with Steven that the whole film could have been fast forwarded to get where they (pesumably) plan to go with the next one though. I might say 45 minutes or an hour rather than 5 minutes, but I agree with the general thrust.

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