Story: Luke (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a casino worker who dreams of being a magician, but before he can focus on card tricks, he needs to handle some medical bills. After his boss Francis (Robert De Niro) refuses to front him the cash for the bills, he formulates a plan to raise the cash another way, by staging a heist at his boss’ vault. He puts together a small team and has casino security involved, thanks to Jason (Dave Bautista), so he thinks it should be a smooth operation. But when things take a turn downhill, the group panics and winds up on the run, aboard a public bus with all the loot. Kris (Gina Carano) is the cop that happens to be nearby and gets involved, though despite the robbery and armed status of the heist folks, she thinks they’re good people and even helps them avoid a blockade. But with time ticking and both Francis and the cops closing in, can Luke figure out how to escape this tense situation and pay off those medical bills?
Entertainment Value: Based on the previews and the interesting ensemble cast choices, I hoped Heist would be a generic version of Ocean’s Eleven. I had minimal expectations, just some wackiness or maybe some solid action, but the end result was a snooze. The narrative is predictable and pretty weak, a magician tries to raise money for healthcare bills by robbing his boss, then things turn into a knockoff of Speed. The bus segments don’t raise the stakes much more than the dull heist sequence, as there is little tension and even less action. I wouldn’t have minded a more deliberate, intricate type heist story here, but there’s very little plot and the cast seems either bored or disinterested, so despite the humorous collection of talent involved, Heist is a dud. What little action is here is boring and forgettable, while the plot fizzles from the jump and never ramps up, it just bides its time until the credits roll, which is likely what everyone involved did as well. I wanted to like Heist, as the cast is outlandish, but interesting, but I can’t give this one a recommendation.
I checked out Heist because of the cast, as it is an eclectic blend of talents and I had hoped perhaps the unusual ensemble might lead to some entertainment. After all, how often do we get to see Robert De Niro share the screen with Mark-Paul Gosselaar or Gina Carano throw down with D.B. Sweeney, so it seemed like there was some potential here. That turned out not to be the case, though the performers aren’t to blame here, as the script is just dull and lifeless. I do think some of the cast members could have punched up a little and made some magic happen, but everyone seems to be on sleepwalking status and most of the turns here are phoned in. While this is an ensemble piece, Jeffrey Dean Morgan has the central role and he more or less flounders, between a disinterested performance and a poorly written character. He plays a magician stuck in a casino job who has a lot of medical bills, but there is little exploration once the original exposition is finished and while Morgan is a decent actor, he really falls flat in this one. The cast also includes Robert De Niro, Gina Carano, Tyler Jon Olson, Dave Bautista, D.B. Sweeney, Morris Chestnut, and Mark-Paul Gosselaar.