The eye of a hurricane does not include a visible wall that looks like a tsunami whirling around in a perfectly defined circle. In The Hurricane Heist, though, we are treated to a CGI spectacle that looks like a cross between the parting of the Red Sea and the tides of Miller's planet in Interstellar, depicted with a level of realism that suggests that computer-animated effects have not advanced since Twister. And at least Twister had Helen Hunt -- as well as the nascent genius of Philip Seymour Hoffman, come to think of it. It was cheesy, no doubt, but it was self-aware enough that we were allowed to have fun wallowing in the cheesiness of it all.
The story of The Hurricane Heist is that some local cops are teaming up with some Treasury agents to pull an inside job at a money-shredding facility in Gulfport, MS. They plan to use the chaos of an approaching hurricane as a distraction to execute the heist. (Lest you mistake this for an original story line, please see 1998's Hard Rain, which stars none other than Christian Slater.) There are a pair of brothers named Will and Breeze (yes, really) -- played by Toby Kebbell and Ryan Kwanten, respectively -- who link up with a loyal Treasury agent named Casey (Maggie Grace) to try to foil the plot. Will is a meteorologist who drives a truck called the Dominator (isn't that trademarked?) and is something of a hurricane whisperer. Breeze is a mechanic and a veteran. It's unclear which branch he served in because, you know, a vet's a vet, right?
It might be easy to call it nitpicking when the numerous inaccuracies of a film are cataloged, but when a movie makes a pretense of being accurate, it's completely fair and arguably quite important. The Hurricane Heist is rife with credibility-sapping mistakes. For example, we see a picture of Breeze in a Marine Corps uniform, but Will later asks him, "What'd they teach you in the Army?" It's tempting to write off this sloppiness as ignorance on the part of director Rob Cohen. On the other hand, it's as if he doesn't care enough to bother getting the minor details right.
We do learn some important things from this movie. Buffalo Trace is good whiskey. Apple iPads are better for business communication than phones. Alienware computers are good for hacking. And product placement never gets any less annoying.
The Hurricane Heist isn't self-aware at all, and it's just plain dumb instead of cheesy. Even worse, it quickly becomes tedious as you realize how many great indie films could have been made for this studio monstrosity's budget. This is the kind of movie that causes one to wonder how on earth there is an audience for this utter dreck. Then again, if American viewers will support a show that is un-ironically titled Floribama Shore...