Review: In THE LAST HEIST, A Serial Killer Spoils A Bank Robbery
Say you've got the perfect bank robbery planned out, should take you no more than 10 minutes, tops. You've got your team all ready to go, parked in a van nearby the bank branch, which has already closed to the public. All you've got to do is wait for the perfect moment, in 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5 ...
And then a serial killer shows up.
Mike Mendez, who made the funny and awesome giant insect movie Big Ass Spider, returns to direct The Last Heist, a title that reveals the movie's apparently deadly intentions. Guy Stevenson's original script plays fast and loose with plot holes, though it's entirely possible that Mendez, who edited the movie with Laurens Van Charante, cut some of the connective thread in post-production in order to push the pace forward.
Whatever the case, the sometimes stilted setup is definitely enlivened by Alexander Bornstein's terrific musical score, which is rousing and roaring and definitely holds one's interest through the first third of the movie. By that point, the action elements kick in and all the cylinders begin firing. From then onward, what was a mildly enjoyable experience rises into truly compelling territory, if not quite the stratosphere that was Big Ass Spider.
The players include the bank robbers, the hostages, the police, and others, though the most intriguing story element is the serial killer. It's apparently pure chance that he shows up at the closed branch moments before the robbers enter, but it gives him time to withdraw the contents of his safety deposit box, revealing some gruesome contents.
That happens within the first 15 minutes of the story, though there are other plot twists and character revelations that await. As implied above, once the action heats up, it becomes easier to accept whatever happens, even if it's patently ridiculous. (For example, much of the action is centered around a bank branch; its supposed location beggars belief, but one imagines it was the best that could be done in accord with the movie's no-doubt meager budget.)
With that spirit in mind, The Last Heist begins to fly. The cast, including Henry Rollins, Torrance Coombs, Victoria Pratt, Mykel Shannon Jenkins, and Kristina Klebe, is strong. The twists and turns come at a pace that is eminently satisfying. And there's no pretense that this is anything than what it is, namely, a nicely-done, modest thriller that delivers more than it promises, a rare thing indeed.
The film opens in select theaters on Friday, June 17. It will also be available to watch via iTunes and various other Video On Demand platforms the same day.