AKA Bus 657
Blending generic heist elements with a diluted Speed knock-off setting, Heist wastes a lot of decent actors on a tale which might have actually been halfway serviceable in the hands of better filmmakers.The story, which kick-starts in medias res, sees a group of masked gunmen commandeering a bus, taking the passengers hostage in the process. We find out that the men have chosen, for various different reasons, to rob millions from a mob-backed casino run by ageing crime boss Mr Pope, who is on the eve of retiring himself.With one of the robbers desperate to pay his dying daughter’s medical bills, but equally desperate not to see anybody get hurt, and Pope himself intent on preventing the police from recovering the stolen cash, lest it be traced back to a money laundering operation running out of his casino, the bus soon becomes a moving staging-ground for bloody conflict and betrayals.
It’s hard to decide whether De Niro took this one for the money, or genuinely believed that the script had something more to offer. The same can arguably be said for Watchmen’s Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Guardians of the Galaxy’s Dave Bautista, as two of the armed robbers, or even Haywire’s Gina Carano as the cop on their tail.
They all could do better than this, and with a few reasonable twists/tweaks to an otherwise generic heist thriller plot, it’s possible they expected the filmmakers to deliver more than the end result we see here. Unfortunately lacklustre shootouts and a second half which cannot help but be compared unfavourably to Speed leave this a largely ineffective affair that squanders the talent on offer and proves little more than mildly diverting DTV-level entertainment.
This is not the underrated 2001 Mamet thriller you were looking for.
In the hands of other filmmakers – and in another life – Heist could have maybe better combined its dual elements of The Town/Heat-like armed robbery with Speed-like hostages-on-a-bus thrills in such a way that drawing such comparisons wasn’t so insulting to the films it emulates. Unfortunately the end result here is remarkable only for the level of wasted talent on offer, and provides little more than a mild diversion in distinct DTV-level ranks.
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