The Hurricane Heist opens by brutally traumatizing two children, so you know Rob Cohen means business. Yet it’s still fun.
This is what action movies should be. Heroes go through awful tragedies, but with enough of a wink that we all know they’re just messing around.
Will (Toby Kebbell) and Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) seem pretty well adjusted when we meet them as grownups. Will has become a scientist studying hurricanes, and Breeze, well, at least Breeze holds down a job and seems to get the most out of life.
Most importantly, something the brothers set up in the opening childhood scene pays off later in the movie, which is something a lot of modern screenplays forget to do.
We only hear about the tragedies that happened in ATF agent Casey Corbin (Maggie Grace)’s past, but we like her right away. She breaks the rules, but only the ones we don’t like either. She drives truckloads of cash to be shredded and taken out of circulation.
As the town is evacuated for Hurricane Tammy, Perkins (Ralph Ineson) leads a crew of thieves to rob the Treasury before the cash is shredded. Oh yeah, and the shredder’s been busted so there are several loads of money for the taking.
The Hurricane Heist really uses every aspect of a hurricane for awesome action. Will uses his tricked out storm chaser car in a pursuit. You’ve gotta love a gratuitous crash into a gas station. They improvise weapons with wind power and use the physics of the hurricane to get out of a standoff.
Cohen builds parallel action when Will and Casey are out in the storm trying to sabotage a satellite while Perkins’ hackers are trying to break the code. The finale combines fast and furious stunts with the weather.
Although his name doesn’t get tossed around with the Michael Bays and Roland Emmerichs, Cohen is one of the best at big spectacle movies that know exactly what they are. He launched two franchises (Fast and the Furious and xXx), and if you go back and watch Stealth, Daylight or Dragonheart, those movies are fun.
Fun is something that’s been missing from big studio action for a while. The prevalent dour, somber tone seems to reflect either an audience or filmmakers ashamed to be doing something just for entertainment.
We need movies where bad guys try to rob the treasury in the middle of a hurricane as much as we need somber treatises on the state of the world.
We also need high concept movies where the idea alone is big enough to make us go to the theater. It’s fine to have franchises of known characters or worlds we want to revisit, but we don’t need to know Will, Casey or Breeze. If they’re the heroes trying to stop a hurricane heist, then that’s the show I’m here for.
The Hurricane Heist is now in theaters.