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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Heist
Heist
Echo Bridge Home Entertainment // Unrated // February 9, 2010
List Price: $6.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Rohit Rao | posted April 8, 2010 | E-mail the Author
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THE MOVIE:

Heist is the sort of movie that plays a rap song over its closing credits, which recounts almost the entire plot that immediately preceded it. As a corollary, Heist is the sort of movie which can have almost its entire plot contained in a rap song. That should tell you all you need to know.

You want more? Masochist. Alright then, let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. As the film opens, we catch David (Tim Aslin) and Erik (Erik David) in a real bind. They've just stolen from the wrong cartel boss, Luis (Christian Mendez) and now must face the consequences. They agree to pay him half a million dollars under rather unfortunate circumstances. By that I mean, one of them gets a nightstick stuck where the sun don't shine, thus taking the word 'nightstick' to a sickeningly literal level. At this point we meet Erik's brother, K (Rick Jordan) who refuses to stand idly by and watch his little brother get harassed. K springs into action, shoots the wielder of the nightstick in the crotch and gets into a pissing match with Luis (thankfully this is not literal). As both of them cool their jets and come to an understanding, it is quite apparent that Luis still has the upper hand. This means that K will have to help Erik repay his debt.

Did I mention that K is also the leader of a gang, albeit not one impressive enough to be deemed a cartel? Well, he is. This will become key in the next act of the movie. K decides to prepone a heist he had been planning in order to pay off Luis. After assembling a motley bunch of good-for-nothings with the help of his right hand man, Ed (C-Nyle), K pulls off what has to be one of the dumbest heists I've ever seen in a film. It involves robbing an armored truck in broad daylight with none of the participants wearing disguises of any sort. K and his gang then take off for their warehouse with bags of cash and a few hostages in tow. This is the point at which Heist begins its death spiral into soul-crushing boredom spiked with moments of utter annoyance. We get to watch K's crew count the stolen loot for what feels like hours on end, while he enjoys some warehouse nookie with his lady friend, Flora (Dana Fares). This is followed by a mish-mash of heist movie clich├ęs. Undercover cop in the crew? Check. Exceedingly stupid behavior by the loose cannon of the group? Check. Sudden role reversals and unforeseen character motives? Checkity-check.

Heist does so little right that it might make sense to start with the positives. There is exactly one good performance in the entire movie and that belongs to Erik David in the role of K's little brother. Erik manages to show some restraint and actually emote while everyone around him is either blending into the background or chewing the scenery like they're coming off a hunger strike. He finds the conflicted core of his character and puts it on display without screaming for attention. It is unfortunate then that he is pushed aside for much of the film so we can get a whiff of what the rest of the cast has to offer. Before I get to that, I would also like to give kudos to Grisha Alasadi for the cinematography. Askew angles attempt to lend real energy to what could have been a very pedestrian presentation of the story while giving us shots that exceed the ambition of the material they are framing. Frankly this lack of ambition is symptomatic of where the rest of Heist goes wrong.

I don't mean to insult the production crew of Heist since putting together a film, especially with a limited budget, is surely an accomplishment. Having said that, Heist just feels lazy. It feels lazy in its handling of stock characters and a plot that hardly ever rises above genre conventions. It especially feels lazy in how it is uninterested in giving us any credible performances other than the one I mentioned earlier. I'm not normally one to pin the failure of a movie on its director alone. However, given that Rick Jordan had his hand in writing and directing the film in which he also nabbed the lead role, I'm going to say that he should shoulder a good deal of the blame for this one. Based on his wearing multiple hats for this production, it's possible that he was left holding the bag in numerous departments. It's also possible that this is a vanity project for him. Since he also features in the movie's only sex scene with the only female character that has a speaking part, you can guess which way I'm leaning.

Jordan's performance as K is flat and emotionless. The shocking thing is just how good he looks compared to some of the other actors in the film. The worst performance is a two-way tie between C-Nyle as K's right hand man and Christian Mendez as the cartel boss. C-Nyle takes a break from his budding rap career to give a performance that is screechy, grating and generally annoying. The fact that I was supposed to accept him as a tech wizard caused my suspension of disbelief to flat-line. Mendez should inspire fear in us and be a source of tension. Instead he gives a performance more wooden than the table I'm sitting at right now. Even if one were to accept the one-dimensional characters that populate Heist, the pacing and plotting represent a massive miscalculation. A much more compelling tale could have been built around Erik's desperation but instead we're treated to the meathead antics of K. This misguided focus is also apparent in where the bulk of the movie spends its energy. For a movie called Heist, it spends more time counting cash than it does on the robbery itself. While this is an unorthodox approach, it is also brain-numbingly boring. It sucks all the wind out of the movie's sails. As a result, the film's climax just feels tacked on and inconsequential.

I'm going to close with one final quibble that I can't seem to get over. For Lewis Black fans, this is my "if it weren't for my horse" moment. C-Nyle brings a guy into the crew who has a bit of a temper and is prone to fighting with everyone over everything. His name is L.C. which is short for Loose Cannon. Both C-Nyle and K seem to know exactly what L.C. stands for and yet they welcome him to the group, allowing him to run amuck whenever he feels like it. When he does get out of hand during the film's climax, they seem surprised and slightly disappointed. Here's my problem: his friggin' name is Loose Cannon. Did they expect him to be a model of restraint? That would be the equivalent of me calling my friend D.J. (short for Diarrhea Jones of course) on a picnic and then getting mad at him when he goes boom-boom in his shorts during a spirited game of Frisbee. That's plain silly, just like most of Heist.

THE DVD:

Video:
The movie was presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. While the image was fairly clean, it was visually flat. The colors seemed unintentionally drab and added no pop to the proceedings.

Audio:
The English audio was presented in a 2.0 Stereo track. While I would have appreciated a 5.1 audio mix, the stereo track was clear. Given the movie featured more counting than heist-ing, it was adequate if unimpressive. I did notice numerous instances of the audio being out of sync with the image which definitely didn't help matters. There were no subtitles on this release.

Extras:
There were no extras on this release.

FINAL THOUGHTS:
Heist is an example of false advertising. For starters, it barely even features a heist. It makes up for this by being packed to the gills with one-dimensional characters that alternately bore and annoy. There is one compelling performance by Erik David buried in this mess but I can't recommend sitting through the rest of the film in order to appreciate it. An adequate video presentation is let down by a sub-par audio mix. I would advise that you Skip It.

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