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article imageReview: ‘Heist’ plays to its actors’ strengths Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 13, 2015 in Entertainment
‘Heist’ is the story of a good guy stuck on a bus in a bad situation, trying to keep it from getting worse and avoid jail time.
Thieves are generally driven by one of two motives: greed or desperation. The former can be insatiable with the prospect of more dragging them into an endless cycle of taking. The latter can lead to brash decisions that may never have been considered if it wasn’t for their current situation. Whatever the reason, planning is the key to success. But as the saying goes, “the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” In Heist it’s clear from the start that these guys have very different aims, which makes their approaches irreconcilable.
Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a decent man who forewent a lucrative life of illicit dealings to start a family. But now his daughter is sick and he can’t afford to pay for the life-saving surgery she requires. When his co-worker at the casino, Cox (Dave Bautista), first approached him with a plan to rob their employer (Robert De Niro), Vaughn brushed him off. Now, out of options and on a strict deadline, he offers his cooperation. However things don’t go as planned and they wind up hijacking a bus to make their getaway, which is determinedly pursued by the casino owner and his ruthless protégé (D.B. Sweeney).
A simplistic description of the film is it’s a cross between Ocean’s Eleven and Speed, minus Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock and the majority of the former’s wit. The burglary is plotted EuroTrip-style using condiments in a restaurant and is pretty straightforward — no elaborate ruses required — as long as everything went to plan. What follows is an unexpected shootout and a lot of improvising that leads them to commandeer an early morning city bus at gunpoint. Then there’s the typical running through roadblocks and highway chases with the chief difference being this bus is not obligated to stay in motion, which allows for some more intimate, less extreme encounters with police.
In spite of the key action being contained in the bus, they actually stage a lot beyond its metal walls to keep audiences abreast of the efforts to stop the criminals. That’s not to say all of it is logical, but it is attempting to provide an omniscient perspective. The tense partnership between Vaughn and Cox is both the film’s most engaging and most ridiculous element as the two are in constant disagreement and the latter tries to assert his position as alpha male by regularly yelling and brandishing his weapon.
Morgan is playing a character with whom he seems comfortable. Vaughn simply wants to ensure the best results for everyone involved, whether their participation was forced or voluntary. He demonstrates some adept hand-to-hand skills, which is actually part of one of the film’s few humorous moments. Bautista is Morgan’s complete opposite in the movie. Cox is hot-headed, reckless and constantly angry, and his answer to most of their difficulties is more violence. De Niro has a relatively small role, occasionally calling the shots from the sideline. His attack dog, played by Sweeney, is disturbingly callous — even for his boss. Gina Carano also has a small part as the responding officer who tries to solve the case from the background, while Mark-Paul Gosselaar leads the charge.
Director: Scott Mann
Starring: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Dave Bautista and Robert De Niro
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