Film Review: The Last Heist

A no-nonsense detective, an ex-Marine, a former army ranger, a serial killer and a whole mess of other people are dumped into a big bag of crazy in this busy thriller.
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A six-person gang of professional thieves in scary masks, led by Paul (Torrance Coombs)—a former Marine—storms a Los Angeles safe-deposit vault, their objective being the theft of $100 million in bearer bonds. They anticipate a quick heist, since the facility has no guards and only a skeleton staff—desk clerk Danny (Michael Aaron Milligan) and his pusillanimous manager—on the premises since it's about to close down: "Nobody is getting shot today," says Paul.

But there are clients there to pick up their stuff. They range from Mrs. Waxman (Fay DeWitt), a little old lady with a bad attitude and a sharp tongue, and the sleek Reverend Bernard (punk luminary Henry Rollins), who moonlights as a serial murderer whose signature is enucleation. Guess what he has in storage.

Hitch number one: Danny wasn't supposed to be working today and Paul is his brother, which effectively ruins the thieves' chances of getting away without being identified. Hitch number two: Danny surreptitiously texts 911 and tough-cookie LAPD detective Pascal (Victoria Pratt) and two rookies are dispatched to the scene. And everything goes all to bloody hell.

Actor/writer Guy Stevenson, who plays a small role in The Last Heist, clearly knows crime thrillers and fans of the genre will recognize allusions to films ranging from The Town (2010) to Michael Mann's Heat (1995), and editor-turned-director Mike Mendez keeps things moving, but the film still feels longer than it is because the script is so thoroughly formulaic. There's a good idea at its center—trapping together a serial killer and a group of ruthless but sane criminals whose goals are at cross-purposes, and sandwiching them between the police and innocent bystanders. But while the setup just about bleeds conflict, there's not much drama because the characters are so one-word thin—tough, volatile, calculating, bughouse crazy (okay, that's two)—that it's hard to care what they do or what's done to them.

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