A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Hurricane Heist (starring Ryan Kwanten, Maggie Grace, and Toby Kebbell) is a hybrid disaster/crime adventure with lots of gunplay and high winds but little violence with lasting emotional impact. A father dies in front of his kids during a hurricane, but the peril is never terrifying or horrifying. There's infrequent strong language (including "s--t" and "bitch"), a little innuendo, and one character who drinks excessively. The most difficult things for most audiences will be the inescapable dim blue light and the high-volume storm noises throughout. And, on the plus side, there are messages about the value of loyalty and courage, and one of the main characters is a smart, powerful woman.
What's the story?
When they were boys, brothers Will and Breeze saw their father killed by a hurricane. Now grown, Will (Toby Kebbell) is a brilliant climate scientist, and Breeze (Ryan Kwanten) is a hard-drinking repairman. The very different brothers meet again as a monster hurricane bears down on their Alabama hometown. Meanwhile, federal agent Casey (Maggie Grace), charged with ushering hundreds of millions of old, used dollars to their retirement via the industrial shredder, finds an extremely well-coordinated and knowledgeable team trying to rob the treasury in the brothers' town on her watch. Hence the title: THE HURRICANE HEIST.
Is it any good?
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the elements that make The Hurricane Heist a hybrid of two genres: disaster and crime/heist movie. Does the crossover make it more interesting than the average film in either genre, or is it too much?
Several characters die due to the super-hurricane, but little attention is paid to them (with two exceptions) because they're mostly bad guys. Does that make their deaths less significant?
- In theaters: March 9, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: June 5, 2018
- Cast: Toby Kebbell, Maggie Grace, Ryan Kwanten
- Director: Rob Cohen
- Studio: Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 100 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: sequences of gun violence, action, destruction, language and some suggestive material
For kids who love action
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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.