Monday, March 7, 2011

'The Heist' isn't worth stealing

The Heist (aka "Unlawful Force") (1997)
Starring: Cynthia Geary, Andrew McCarthy, Wolf Larson, Peter Hanlon, Hannes Jaenicke, Brent Stait, and Janice Simmons
Director: Michael Kennedy
Rating: Four of Ten Stars

A retired police officer (Geary) turned security company dispatcher engages in a battle of nerves and wits with the leader of a gang that is staging a robbery (McCarthy).

"The Heist" is a made-for-TV movie that screams "cheap" from every single frame. From its limited locations (all of the interior spaces were probably on the same sound stage and all the exteriors feel like they were probably filmed around the same rundown industrial park) to the run-down vehicles used throughout the picture, this is a movie with a budget so low it can't conceal it.

It doesn't help matters that the script is predictable in every way but one (I guessed wrong when it came to the identity of the "mole" in the security company that was, but I called every other plot development long before it made its way onto the screen, and anyone who has seen more than two or three crime dramas will easily do the same.

It's not a particularly bad movie--it's paced decently, no one in the cast embarrasses themselves or their co-stars with bad performances, and stars McCarthy and Geary are as good as one expects them to be, based on work that came both before and after this film--but it's also not particularly good. "Bland" is the perfect adjective to describe it.

This is a film that deserved to fade into TV oblivion, but someone acquired the DVD rights cheaply enough to put it out there for rent and purchase. Unless you're the world's biggest fan of Andrew McCarthy or Cynthia Geary, or unless you've set yourself the goal of watching every single heist movie ever made in North American, it isn't even worth shoplifting.