It’s fair to say that Heist isn’t the best film that Robert De Niro has been involved in, but it’s a solid B-movie thriller with enough twists and turns to keep viewers entertained. De Niro’s mobster only has a supporting role here and the star of the show is Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Morgan plays a father desperate to get $300,000 for his daughter’s cancer treatment. When his Casino owning boss (De Niro) turns him down for the cash, he teams with a co-worker (Dave Bautista) to steal $3 million in dirty money. Things go awry and the thieves take a bus hostage, pursued by Gina Carano’s cop and De Niro’s right-hand man (Morris Chestnut).
Director Scott Mann has put together a fast-paced thriller that works on a superficial level despite it’s rather generic title (it was originally titled Bus 657). It’s a farfetched piece of entertainment but it works if you don’t think about the plot machinations too much. However, the film often fails when it gets too close for comfort to other, better movies (Heat and Speed being the obvious choices).
Nobody shames themselves on a performance level in Heist. Jeffrey Dean Morgan makes for an engaging lead and he has some solid moments with Dave Bautista’s bulky hothead. De Niro could play this type of mob role in his sleep and he’s solid, if unspectacular in the role of the bad guy with his own set of morals. His casting is obviously down to the filmmaker’s ‘boarding’ De Niro, where they offer him a couple of million dollars for a few days work. It’s a small role but it adds the film some class.
Heist may not be a crime classic but it has enough moments and charisma from its cast to keep it moving forward. It won’t set the world on fire, but it’s a decent thriller which ticks all the requisite boxes that never out stays its welcome.