The Hurricane Heist is a curiously bland film. When one opts for a title as knowingly ludicrous as The Hurricane Heist, you expect something trashy and splashy, but in a fun, silly way. Nobody goes into The Hurricane Heist expecting high art. Nor should you. It’s called The Hurricane Heist after all. Delusions of grandeur are strictly void. And there are certainly moments of over-the-top ridiculousness to be found in the newest film from Rob Cohen, the director behind the original The Fast and the Furious and other less-than-noteworthy titles like xXx, Stealth, The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor and Alex Cross. Sitting at otherwise-agreeable 103 minutes, however, Cohen’s latest film is an amusingly absurd action-thriller that’s stretched out at least an hour longer than it has any right to be. Suffice to say, it doesn’t blow you away.
Do I need to explain the plot of The Hurricane Heist? What can I say that isn’t evident in the title? It’s worth noting, it’s a tale about brothers. After a storm-related tragedy resulted in the death of their hurricane-chasing father, Will (an overqualified Toby Kebbell) and Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) find themselves wandering two separate paths in life. Will is a meteorologist. Breeze is a drunken womanizer. They’ve remained estranged since the accident, but when the mother of all hurricanes —a Category 5 megastorm — is heading straight towards Breeze’s direction, Will reconnects with his dysfunctional sibling. Meanwhile, they didn’t call this movie The Hurricane Heist for nothing. In the midst of this family turmoil, criminal Perkins (The Witch’s Ralph Ineson) and his band of no-do-gooders take a government facility hostage, hoping to steal a boatload of soon-to-be disposed cash — $600 million, to be exact — in the midst of this natural disaster. But Treasury Agent Casey (Maggie Grace) isn’t going to let all that money be stolen under her nose — giant twister raging outside be damned — with Will’s help.
Whew. That’s way more plot describing than I expected to write for The Hurricane Heist. That gets to the heart of the problem in Cohen’s newest. While the beginning is pretty good at cutting to the chase, the middle is weirdly (and unfortunately) bogged down with more exposition and character developing than it should be. Now, I’m usually not one to complain about character development, but when your movie is called The Hurricane Heist (as I might’ve mentioned by now) you’d be much better off not spending a lot of time having your main characters sit down to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Especially considering how the actual hurricane stuff, while as cheesy as it could be, is uproariously entertaining. These disaster sequences are too few-and-far-between, though.
There are roughly 30 minutes of cheeky entertainment value in The Hurricane Heist. The rest is tedious and needlessly dull. To make matters better or worse, the performances are actually pretty good. Kebbell provides some genuinely good character building; so much so that you wish the movie wasn’t wasting his talents. Grace also gives a strong performance, but her character is so rote and by-the-numbers that she’s seemingly just enjoying herself. And Ineson is always a delight, especially with his creamy voice filling the speakers, but his villainous presence is only seen sporadically, and it’s never used to its full potential — either as a genuine threat or a hammy joy. And that sums up the biggest qualm with The Hurricane Heist. It’s enjoyable, but only at times, and it’s too inconsistently entertaining to recommend in full. It’s a SyFy channel movie that’s weirdly given the big screen treatment, and it’s better served at home, with wise-cracking friends and copious amounts of alcohol in tow. As it stands, The Hurricane Heist doesn’t steal your attention, and it leaves you winded.