This is pretty much what you expect when you pay to see a movie with this title: a few fun action sequences, a lot of genre clichés, CGI disaster effects, and unemotional violence. Oh, and the bonus of a watchable female action hero. It seems fairly certain that somewhere in the pitch process, the phrases "Die Hard in a hurricane" or "Under Siege meets Twister" were used. The Hurricane Heist dutifully hits the expected notes: There's an unorthodox scientist who gets ignored by the government functionaries, a cop (here a federal agent) with a dreadful error in her past, strained family ties, and an elaborate heist that relies on an inside man. But the film is actually better than the sum of its used parts. Its virtues include unusual attention to scientific detail -- although, truthfully, enough gobbledygook flies by to make you wonder whether the things the characters rattle off about climate science or cyberwhatsits are real or made up on the spot. The heist target -- millions in cash that's marked for destruction -- is interesting, and the writers have taken care to credibly trap the outnumbered good guys with the suspiciously good-looking and well-dressed bad guys. And a few neat gags -- including letting hubcaps fly in high winds as weapons -- that help elevate the movie. But dragging it down is the persistent, dim-blue look that's meant to simulate storm conditions but really achieves mild eye strain, plus the very high volume of the storm sound effects throughout.
Oddly, the cast has a number of Aussies (Kwanten) and Brits (Kebbell, Ben Cross) playing Deep Southerners. Only Cross struggles with the accent. As the brothers, Kwanten and Kebbell have amiable chemistry. It's interesting to see how Kwanten has changed in a relatively short time: The recently oft-shirtless True Blood hunk convincingly projects a broken-down, semi-bitter dead-ender here. And Kebbell seems to have fun as the scientist with a gleam in his eye who's forced to run away from bad guys. But Grace acquits herself best, providing a compelling center for the action part of the film. She looks solid while fighting, shooting, and running with a weapon. The somewhat underused actress delivers yet another authentic-feeling, non-over-the-top performance. If it doesn't quite ride the winds to Oz, Hurricane Heist is at least better than you might expect.