Directors of disaster movies of the 2010s in Hollywood or the Sci-Fi channel have decided that it’s no longer attention-grabbing to have just one disaster going on. Now it’s all about having a scrabble blitzed double combo. Enter The Hurricane Heist – a film that merges a massive hurricane and a high tech heist together to create a very wet and windy crime disaster hybrid. Its scale for carnage outruns its budget though and whilst it is by no means a bust, it falls awkwardly in the upper exciting TV movie bracket rather than blockbuster movie level.
The disasters faced
A bank heist, corrupt police, a hurricane complete with facial features (think The Mummy but greyer), storm surges, alcoholism and a huge discount at the shopping mall.
Having lost their dad in the opening scene, brothers Will and Breeze (yes, its that kind of film) have their lives go off in vastly different paths. One is now an alcoholic repairman, the other a meteorologist chasing storms to stop his dad. So far, so Twister. Present day arrives with a new hurricane arriving for revenge. As the town exacuates, a team of robbers take over a bank facility with plenty of cash and gold inside, taking Breeze hostage during part of the fallout. Will teams up with treasury police agent Casey to get Breeze, other colleagues and the money back to safety before the hurricane arrives and takes everyone out. In a mash-up of Fast and the Furious, Hard Rain, Twister and Sharknado with a better budget – our duo go about thwarting their plans and then picking off the robbers one by one with increasingly inventive ways.
Why is it worth watching?
The Hurricane Heist takes clear nods from Hard Rain, which is a somewhat guilty pleasure of mine. That film had a robbery take place in a huge dam busting flood and storm – this runs a similar line. You have double-crossers, hostages, lots of money and some terribly cheesy dialogue but ultimately the film succeeds because it is aiming for that goofy entertainment niche in the market and hits. The characters here have little in the way of character development and when they do it’s convenient for the plot to move us to the next place. The characters themselves are all cookie-cutter to the point where they play their nuance and role and don’t step out that boundary. The screenplay and writing is probably the weakest element of the film although the accents the cast use are also quite fun to dissect at times. If you just got along with it, then it is perfectly serviceable. If anything, there are too many baddies and not enough screen time to let their demises pay off properly but I’m nitpicking.
Rob Cohen, who made the Fast & Furious film cuts the action well with what he has got and manages to make sure that the film feels bigger than it actually is. The closing sequence with the trucks, alongside the flash flood sequence, are particularly well done. There are some fun camera angles and it’s cut together in a way that feels like Hollywood rather than shaky-cam and I really appreciated that. There are also some really over the top non-sensical moments throughout the film but they add to its big boy low budget charm and give it character.
The Hurricane Heist had a rumoured $45 million budget but I can’t see where a lot of it went. This is due to the films completely greyed out colour palette. It feels like they shot everything during a sunny day and then had to tone absolutely everything down to a muted grey to make it dark and moody. It’s a shame because when the hurricane comes it doesn’t look too bad! I also really appreciated some of the town destruction effects which were practical more than CGI. Overall then – a mixed bag. Better than a Sci-Fi movie for sure, but not quite Hollywood standard either.
One thing I did want to bring up though (perhaps through Cohen’s influence) is how good the storm chasing car is! There are cameras everywhere in it and that does look like a tech marvel.
Will and Breeze go from estranged to best buddies over the course of the film whilst Casey goes from tough-nut to crack to down with the gang besties by the close of the credits. The trio work well together to be fair and there’s plenty of chemistry. I was half expecting some kind of Romancing The Stone sequel to be announced afterwards. Elsewhere everyone else is either one dimensional or too easy to signal for their changing of sides.
‘I hate old money. It’s been up too many noses and down too many G-Strings!’ Casey
Three Memorable Moments
- Did we really need a face in the opening hurricane to roar at us?
- The inventive weapons used at the antenna shootout
- The final truck section
The obligatory weird moment
Aside from the stupid as hell hurricane face at the start of the movie, one thing that actually made me laugh out loud when I noticed it was the camera positioning inside the storm chasing car. Everything is set up so you can see the make of the driver seat at all times. Their logo is on screen for more time than half the cast and once my eye had clocked it, I couldn’t stop noticing it until the car is totalled. This leads me onto…
The drinking game
… every time you see that logo – down the drink. This only works for the first half of the film though. Aside from that, you can try every time Moreno gets hurt. Poor guy – surprised he lasted as long as he did!
The Hurricane Heist fills a void between TV trash and blockbuster spectacle that is sorely lacking in today’s polar opposites of media. Whilst it is as cheesy as a slice of 4 cheese pizza, it is entertaining in a way that will keep you watching for both its good and its bad bits. Hopefully, this will open the door to other studios looking to try a lower-midrange budget movie so that we can see some more substantial disaster movies instead of being shovelled another Sci-Fi / Asylum cringefest. I think there’s room for both if you use the money and the creativity wisely.
Rating: 3/5 – Good
If you liked The Hurricane Heist then you may like…
- Hard Rain (A similar but bigger budget movie from the 90s)
- Twister (For more windy things!)
- Tornado Warning (A low budget Tornado movie with a comedy edge)
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