‘The Last Heist’ (2016): Review
A group of heavily-armed bank robbers are in for a surprise when one of the hostages they take in their latest job turns out to be a serial killer. It’s The Last Heist.
We learn that a vicious murderer has been stalking downtown Los Angeles for two years. Called the ‘Window Killer’ because his trademark is to remove his victim’s eyeballs, he keeps his trophies in a safety deposit box. The problem is, the bank where he stores his formaldehyde treats is closing the local branch and so he needs to make a quick withdrawal. Meanwhile, a gang of unpleasant bank robbers is parked out front ready to storm the building. Once inside, it’s a face off between thieves and a killer.
The story is a cross between Dog-Day Afternoon and a Halloween horror film. The robbers try to negotiate a way out while a stalker creeps in the shadows (and air vents). That stalker is Bernard (Henry Rollins). He’s an interesting killer but we never really get to understand his motivations other than a few forced words about a mission from God before be strikes. That said, the film’s best moments are entirely his. His enjoyment in his victim’s final breaths are effectively gripping and there is a bit of vulnerability to him in his conflicts that make him feel less unstoppable than the usual madman of the genre. He has the inside of the bank in chaos as the robbers try to stay on mission. Bernard has other plans.
Outside the bank is a blonde-haired, smart-mouthed detective named Pascal (Victoria Pratt) and a couple of bumbling patrol cops who banter and argue until the department of defense shows up claiming the heist is about a hundred million dollars worth of drug cartel money. You can guess what that means. Everyone clashes and nobody works together. But that’s the least of their worries. Bernard doesn’t care whose eyes he gouges out.
Directed by Mike Mendez, who struck gold with his 2013 surprise hit Big Ass Spider, helms The Last Heist, another movie with an intriguing premise that ultimately fails to capitalize on it, but has a little fun with the tropes nonetheless. Sadly, it can’t really find what it wants to be. It’s bank robber movie, a slasher film, and a drug running thriller. And none really work. It’s poorly-written and terribly edited (keep an eye on the bands the robbers put on the hostages), slightly levied by a few enthusiastic performances, especially Rollins, but hampered by its distractingly low-budget that leaves the experience slogging along at a snail’s pace with lots of ultra-cheap visual effects (like gunfire blasts and bullet holes) and corn syrup blood. In what looks like a contest to have as many clichés in one movie as it can, the film isn’t fun. That’s where a B-grade movie needs to be, but this one takes itself far too seriously, which would have worked if the script wasn’t so hackneyed. There are no surprises.
It’s really too bad because Rollins is a sensational villain and the plot is rather smart. It would have been something to see this in better hands, with a sharper script. Worth a look for fans of low-rent thrillers (and Rollins), this will only disappoint most.
‘The Last Heist’ (2016): Review
Director: Mike Mendez
Writer: Guy Stevenson
Stars: Henry Rollins, Torrance Coombs, Victoria Pratt