DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Scott Mann
Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Robert De Niro, Kate Bosworth, Gina Carrano, Dave Bautista
Writing Credits:
Max S. Adams and Stephen Cyrus Sepher

Never make a bet you can't afford to lose.

A father is without the means to pay for his daughter's medical treatment. As a last resort, he partners with a greedy co-worker to rob a casino. When things go awry they're forced to hijack a city bus.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 12/29/2015

• Audio Commentary with Director Scott Mann, Actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Writer Max Adams
• Six Deleted/Extended Scenes
• “The Making of Heist” Featurette
• Cast/Crew Interviews
• Trailer and Previews


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


Heist [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 15, 2015)

Elsewhere, I’ve declared Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman to be the king and queen of the direct-to-video movie. However, Robert De Niro might give them some competition, as he seems to make a lot of video-only flicks.

For the latest De Niro offering, we check out 2015’s Heist. Luke Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) works as a dealer at a riverboat casino. Luke needs money to pay for his daughter Riley’s (Elizabeth Windley) medical treatment, so he asks for a massive loan from his boss, casino head/gangster Frank Pope (De Niro).

Pope turns down the request, and this leaves Luke in a desperate situation. To raise the required funds, Luke partners with security guard Cox (Dave Bautista) to rob the casino. We follow how this effort goes wrong and forces the men to hijack a city bus in an attempt to stay away from the police.

While the film’s title may lead one to think Heist will offer a standard burglary tale, the crime itself finishes fairly early in the movie. Much of the story takes place on the bus, which makes it feel more than a little like Speed.

Though it’s a scattered, unfocused Speed, and one without the drama and excitement of that 1994 hit. Heist comes with some good moments, but it seems awfully inconsistent, as if the movie never quite knows what it wants to be.

The film’s tone hops all over the place. It goes from heartfelt family drama to dark gangster fare to action piece to wisecracking police material in the blink of a heartbeat. The shifts feel virtually random and can seem jarring.

If Heist stayed with the action side of things, it’d work best. Despite a truly wooden performance by Gina Carano as police officer Kris Bajos, the bus-based sequences manage reasonable excitement and fun.

When Heist sticks us with Pope’s affairs and related elements, though, it slows to a crawl and feels disjointed. The film lacks a real dramatic need to get into these subjects, as it should go with Luke’s tale above all else. The dalliances elsewhere become a distraction more than anything else.

Even though most of his scenes don’t need to exist, De Niro does fairly well as Pope. In recent years, De Niro has seemed more eager to cash paychecks than anything else, so it’s good to see some dramatic investment from the legendary actor. He brings both menace and heart to the cliché gangster part.

Otherwise, the actors seem competent. None of them do as well as De Niro, but they fare much better than Carano. The performers fill their thin roles in a positive manner, though they don’t elevate the material.

Enough of Heist succeeds to make it moderately entertaining, but it lacks the cohesion to be better than that. Because the movie had potential, it feels like a minor disappointment. I’d call it a “C+” effort.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Heist appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was an up and down transfer, but it usually looked fine.

Sharpness was the least consistent aspect of the image. Though most of the flick looked accurate and concise, exceptions occurred. The movie could seem strangely soft at times, and not for obvious stylistic reasons.

Despite those instances, I felt the majority of the movie offered nice clarity. No issues with jaggies or moiré effects materialized, and edge haloes were absent. Source flaws failed to become a factor here.

In terms of palette, Heist went with a stylized look. In an unsurprising move, the film emphasized orange and teal to a substantial degree. Those tones seemed acceptable given their limitations. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, while shadows showed decent to good delineation. Overall, the image looked acceptable, though the issues with sharpness led me to a “B-“ grade.

When I examined the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Heist, I thought it was moderately active and involving. To be sure, the movie offered a lot of material from all five channels. Given the story, we got a fair amount of gunfire, and we also got vehicle-related material. These elements created a good sense of place and movement that brought us a solid soundscape.

Audio quality was fine. Speech was reasonably crisp and natural, and effects showed good punch. Music was also clear and full. The soundtrack didn’t excel but it connected with the material.

The Blu-ray presents a smattering of extras, and these launch with an audio commentary from director Scott Mann, actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan and writer Max Adams. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at story/character areas and the script re-write, locations and filming on a bus, action and stunts, editing, cast and performances, and related areas.

One of the more profane commentaries I've heard, this chat isn't for folks squeamish about the "F-bomb". I doubt people who feel that way made it through the movie, though, so it shouldn't be an issue. The participants dig into the film's creation fairly well. I don't think this is the deepest track I've heard, but it gives us a nice array of thoughts.

Six Deleted/Extended Scenes fill a total of four minutes, eight seconds. These offer short bits with a little more exposition. None of them seem especially useful or memorable.

With The Making of Heist, we find a 15-minute, 11-second program with Mann, Morgan, Adams, actor/co-writer Stephen Cyrus Sepher, director of photography Brandon Cox, and actors Morris Chestnut, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Kate Bosworth, DB Sweeney, Gina Carano. The show covers story/characters, shooting on a bus, cast and performances, and Mann’s impact on the production. A couple of useful notes emerge, but this is mostly a general, promotional piece.

Under Cast/Crew Interviews, we get eight segments. We hear from Scott Mann (7:29), Max Adams (6:11), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (4:26), Kate Bosworth (4:43), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (3:35), Gina Carano (4:09), Morris Chestnut (2:34) and DB Sweeney (4:37). Across these, the participants touch on the same topics found in “Making Of”.

That’s because the “Interviews” offer expanded clips from the same sessions used for the featurette. This means we don’t get a lot of new material, as the comments tend to seem light and superficial. Adams proves to be the most informative of the bunch, but the others come across as fairly forgettable.

The disc opens with ads for Sicario, Wild Card, John Wick, Extraction, American Ultra and Zero Tolerance. A trailer for Heist also appears here.

I think Heist boasts just enough action and intrigue to deliver mild entertainment. However, it lacks consistency, especially in terms of tone, as it jumps from one genre to another too often and without cohesion. The Blu-ray offers acceptable picture as well as good audio and a decent selection of supplements. Heist becomes moderately enjoyable but never settles into a groove.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main