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A heist/vampire-zombie film with big named rappers like Big Daddy Kane may not be as rewarding as the works of say Martin Scorsese, but you can do a lot worse. For a low budget indie B-movie, "Dead Heist" is a surprisingly fun but flawed ride.
The plot: 4 men are looking to break out of street hustling by moving onto bigger and better crimes (in this case a bank robbery.) Aiding them in the robbery is a military veteran and bodyguard named Jackson (D.J. Naylor). Wanting to do the robbery in their own way, the four thugs decide to rob the bank without Jackson only to end up screwing up the job. As night rolls around, the thieves and hostages find themselves holding up in the bank as the town becomes ravaged by bloodthirsty flesh-eating creatures who were once human. Enter the character of Hunter (Big Daddy Kane) who is a mysterious character who has run into these creatures before and knows how to deal with them. Armed with guns and knives, Hunter and the gang have to try and survive a massive attack by the creatures.
"Dead Heist" is generally a mixed bag. On one hand, some of the characters are genuinely likeable such as wise bad-ass Jackson, the female cop Kate, and Hunter- the creature slayer. The chemistry between Kate and Jackson is certainly the highlight as they are the strongest actors, but not to be overlooked is Big Daddy Kane. His late arrival in the film was a fresh breath of air as Kane seemed to derive much pleasure out of kicking ass and taking names. On the other hand, the four bank robbers are devoted too much screen time, which is a shame as the characters are interchangeable. Aside from Ski, the other three have no distinguishing features and merely spout a few lines before their inevitable demise.
In addition to needing more developed characters, the direction could have been stronger. My main concern with the film was the lack of horror. If you really wanted to capture the audiences attention, director Bo Webb should have focused more on atmosphere and scares. The creatures aren't as threatening and creepy as they could be. Webb seems more concerned with flashy gunplay scenes, but as the film's genre is action/horror, a greater emphasis on horror was sadly missing. A wasted opportunity on Webb's part.
Flaws aside, Bo Webb did still possesses talent as a director and he gives us a stunning shot. The shot: A zombie is climbing in between two escalators and is shot. The zombie slides down and the camera follows to reveal close to a hundred creatures waiting to come up the escalator. It's an effective shot that perfectly sets the scene for the epic showdown that is about to take place.
The Widescreen specifications were not given, but the image is very clean. No murky or fuzzy images to be found like in many indie film disks I have seen.
Sound: Extras: Final Thoughts:
"Dead Heist" is entertaining enough to warrant a rental. You're likely to forget it the next day, but you'll have a good time watching it. If you like this film, feel free to catch writer Anghus Houvouras's other notable crime thriller titled "20 Funerals."
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