The Last Heist (Movie Review)

The Last Heist (Movie Review)
8 10

The Last Heist Mike Mendez

PLOT: An armed robbery completely falls apart when it turns out that one of the hostages is a serial killer.

REVIEW: A serial killer has been stalking the Los Angeles area for two years, racking up fifteen kills while earning the nickname "The Window Killer" because he keeps his victims' eyeballs as a trophy. Eyes are the windows to the soul, you know. So while I'm sure it's a hassle for anyone who has a safety deposit box when they find out that their safety deposit vault of choice will soon be closing down, it has to be especially unnerving for the Window Killer, since that's where he keeps his collection of eyeballs. He needs to get his gruesome souvenirs out of there as quickly as possible - and that's how he ends up being in the vault when a group of masked armed robbers come storming into the place and take the employees and their clients hostage.

This was supposed to be a really easy job for the robbers. The vault has no guards, a skeleton crew of employees, the security cameras have already been shut off, there are only a couple clients in there. There's a specific safety deposit box they want to open, and they expected to be in and out of there and $100 million richer within ten minutes, their guns switched to safety and no rounds in the chamber. But armed robberies are not a good idea, folks. You can usually expect them to go disastrously wrong, and that's exactly what happens here. Not only does the place end up surrounded by cops, but the thieves quickly come to realize that one of their hostages is the Window Killer, which they discover from the fact that he starts picking them off one-by-one. Adding to that eyeball collection.

The Last Heist Mike Mendez

THE LAST HEIST is the latest film from Mike Mendez, a director I've been following closely ever since he made his debut with the incredibly strange KILLERS twenty years ago. I've been very glad to see that his 2013 film BIG ASS SPIDER! seems to have kickstarted a period of prolificacy in his career, as he has directed as many movies, or segments of them (he contributed to the TALES OF HALLOWEEN anthology), in the last three years as he did over the course of the previous seventeen. BIG ASS SPIDER! is a much better film than you might expect it to be, and so is, in a way, THE LAST HEIST. 

"DOG DAY AFTERNOON with a slasher" already sounds spectacular, I would have been perfectly content with a movie as simple as that, but THE LAST HEIST actually puts in some extra effort. There's an interesting element of in-fighting among the thieves that has nothing to do with the presence of a killer, a disagreement over how to handle the hostage situation, with the ringleader emerging as the "criminal with a code of honor" type while some of his underlings display a bloodthirst. There's the ringleader's mysterious military background adding an extra layer of intrigue, the fact that his brother is one of the vault employees bringing in some character depth and drama.

There's even more than meets the eye going on outside the vault, with a tough robbery/homicide detective butting heads with the Department of Defense contractors who have been brought in because of the ringleader's history. 

THE LAST HEIST is still a simple movie that moves along at a quick pace and gets all wrapped up in just 84 minutes, but it could have been much more simplistic, and I appreciate the fact that Mendez and screenwriter Guy Stevenson worked to put some more meat on its bones.

Mendez brings Stevenson's story to the screen with a lively tone and propulsive energy that makes that short running time breeze by. There are thrills, action, laughs (many of them provided by Fay DeWitt as a salty elderly hostage), and copious amounts of blood. The actors also do strong work with the material, the standouts including the aforementioned DeWitt, Torrance Coombs as the criminal with a heart of gold, Victoria Pratt as Detective Pascal, Nick Principe (because how can a 6'7" beast of a man not stand out?), Kristina Klebe (because she is always awesome), and BIG ASS SPIDER!'s laughter MVP Lombardo Boyar in a cameo.

The greatest aspect of this film, however, is the casting of Henry Rollins as the Window Killer. This character is quite odd in everyday interactions, so much so that you probably wouldn't be surprised to find out he was a serial killer, but he really perks up when he's getting the chance to kill someone. It's actually a delight to watch this guy commit violent acts on some of the less savory characters, because Rollins so wonderfully plays the glee he gets out of it. He has a big smile on his face, unable to contain his happiness. My favorite scene in the movie actually involved the Window Killer murdering an actor I didn't want to see leave the film at that point, it was just so entertaining to watch Rollins at work as Window rambles about what's happening to the person as they bleed to death, basically giving them an enthusiastic biology lesson as they fruitlessly fight for their life.

That was the most fun moment for me in a movie that provided 84 minutes of fun. I thoroughly enjoyed THE LAST HEIST.

Extra Tidbit: XLrator Media will be releasing THE LAST HEIST in theatres and onto VOD and iTunes June 17th.



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