Heist is essentially a cocktail of Casino and Speed but then amalgamates into Inside Man towards the end. Robert De Niro plays Francis ‘Pope’ Silva, a mobster boss and casino owner on the brink of starting his retirement. He is passing the reigns to Dog (Morris Chestnut) who has been learning from Pope how to work the casino floor and being educated on Pope’s specific rules and principles. An underweight looking Jeffery Dean Morgan plays a frustrated money lacking croupier Luke Vaughn at Pope’s casino. Vaughn’s daughter is in the hospital awaiting surgery, but Vaughn needs to cough up a big chunk of change before the doctors will operate. In a desperate act to resolve his daughter’s situation, Vaughn teams up with Cox (Dave Bautista) a psychotic security guard, to rob the casino they both work at. Obviously, their mastermind plan goes to shit, so they hijack a bus to attempt to flee the city.
Unfortunately, not only do they have organised crime members after them, the police and media are now involved in a live broadcast mid-speed chase on the highway. I expected an hour and a half of switch your brain off action, and yes you probably can, however Heist has a bit more depth than that, which was a pleasant surprise. Pope and Vaughn have a history, which is glossed over but it adds to the characters and plot. They are both trying to help or amend their relationships with their respective daughters. Pope’s daughter hates him because of his line of work, and now he’s riddled with cancer he tries to get her to be the majority shareholder in his casino, but she fucks him off. This seems like a minor detail until the film’s conclusion.
The dialogue throughout is unpredictably amusing and actually quite smart. It’s very far from Tarantino’s standard but it’s not meaningless waffle. I’m flippant with my language, but I felt there was a little too much unnecessary swearing within the script; especially with the character of Cox, who is just a walking steroid that can’t control his saliva when he’s angry (there is spit all over his nicely trimmed beard). Jeffery Dean Morgan has such a soft gravelly voice that his lines are almost pleasurable to the ears. I imagine he’s rather gifted at telling bed time stories to naughty children.
Kate Bosworth is the third name on the cast list but she is in the film for only a handful of scenes. Just seemed like a bit of a waste, but overall Heist is well cast. The character of Pope would have come naturally to De Niro, reprising a role incredibly similar to those he has played many times before in his career, especially when Scorsese was directing him. Dean Morgan’s performance was truly heart felt and believable. His backstory was credible and the way Dean Morgan portrays his character’s personal struggle is painfully accurate. Or as accurate as you can be if you’ve just stolen $3 million from the mafia and have now taken passengers on a bus hostage.
No one involved in this production is going to win an Oscar for their efforts anytime soon, but it’s not a bad effort. Moral character development, cheeky plot twists and relatable circumstances makes this a solid acquisition to your DVD/Blu-Ray collection if you can pic it up for a decent price.
3 / 5
Dir: Scott Mann
Scr: Stephen Cyrus Sepher, Max Adams
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Morris Chestnut, Dave Bautista, Robert DeNiro, Kate Bosworth
Prd: Randall Emmett, George Furia, Wayne Marc Godfrey, Robert Jones, Stephen Cyrus Sepher, Alexander Tabrizi
DOP: Brandon Cox
Music: James Edward Barker, Tim Despic
Run time: 93 mins
Heist is available now on Blu-Ray and DVD.