A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Heist (not to be confused with David Mamet's 2001 movie of the same name) is a crime thriller with very strong, constant language (including dozens of uses of "f--k" and "motherf----r") and graphic violence: shooting, killing, blood, fighting, and children in peril. One scene shows a man and a woman in bed, with her partly naked. Characters smoke cigarettes, and two minor characters appear to be drug addicts.
What's the story?
Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) works as a dealer in a high-stakes casino; his boss, known as The Pope (Robert De Niro), hates to part with money and resorts to violence when necessary. Despite the cash flowing through the place, Vaughn can't afford to pay for an operation that his little girl needs. When disgruntled security guard Cox (Dave Bautista) proposes a robbery, Vaughn reluctantly agrees. It goes off without a hitch, but things get complicated when the thieves try to escape via a city bus and are spotted by a cop named Kris (Gina Carano). Things turn into a hostage situation, and tempers become frayed as more cops -- and the casino's second-in-command (Morris Chestnut) -- close in. Worse, Vaughn only has until 7 p.m. to get the money to the hospital to save his daughter.
Is it any good?
Despite a high-concept idea and a good cast, this crime thriller feels somewhat half-baked and rushed. It might once have been promising, but it seems like something went wrong along the way. As The Pope, De Niro faintly recalls some of his great gangster roles, but here he's somehow flatter and less relevant. A scene with Kate Bosworth as his estranged daughter seems tacked on to give his character depth, but it doesn't work.
Director Scott Mann has another opportunity to build conflict between the characters played by Bautista and Morgan, but instead they simply yell and curse at each other throughout the movie; they have no real connection. Kris, played by former mixed martial artist Carano, could also have been an interesting character, but while Steven Soderbergh used her well in Haywire, Mann can't get a believable performance here. All in all, HEIST is a dud -- as evidenced by its generic title -- and a waste of talent.
Talk to your kids about ...
Does the language in this movie seem stronger than usual? What effect does that have?
What other options does the main character have to save his daughter? How does the ending make you feel? Are his actions justified?
Is Kris a role model? Who is actress Gina Carano in real life? Does that affect how you view her character?
- In theaters: November 13, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: December 29, 2015
- Cast: Dave Bautista, Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan
- Director: Scott Mann
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, pervasive language and some sexual content
- Last updated: September 4, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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