Starring Craig Fairbrass, James Cosmo, Nathalie Cox, Mem Ferda, Steven Berkoff, Nick Moran, Roland Manookian, Katie Clarkson-Hill. Directed by Mark McQueen. (2017, 95 min).
Huh? What was that?
I found myself asking this question a lot during London Heist, a British crime thriller starring a bunch of second-tier blokes who've popped-up in lots of other films, but their names escape you.
Craig Fairbrass (that soccer-loving thug from Cliffhanger) stars as Jack, the leader of a group of bank robbers that pull-off what's supposed to be one final score before calling it quits, only to have it stolen by a local mob boss, who also kills Jack's dad (Steven Berkoff, that ruthless kingpin from Beverly Hills Cop). Jack hides his girlfriend, Nicole (Nathalie Cox, once talked into starring in Clash of the Titans), with family friend Ray (James Cosmo, Mel Gibson's uncle from Braveheart) while he seeks to avenge his father's death and get the money back. Ray, however, talks Jack into pulling off one more heist.
|Everyone knows damn well who stole the cookies from the cookie jar.|
It's a pretty standard "one-last-job" crime caper, full of the usual shoot-outs, chases, escapes, double-crosses and the obsessed cop hellbent on bringing the crew down (Nick Moran, one of the few guys from Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels who didn't really move up the totem pole). The action is adequate, though the film itself only moves in fits and starts and there aren't any real surprises. We've seen most of these characters before, so much so that we suspect who's behind it all almost immediately.
Worst of all, I had a really hard time following the damn thing. The plot isn't all that complex, but most of the characters (especially Fairbrass) mumble their dialogue with such thick British accents that I had to back up the film a few times just to understand what the hell they were saying. Every conversation was like listening to a cast of Ozzy Osbournes.
All of which makes London Heist more work to enjoy than the overly-familiar story warrants. Everything culminates in a predictable, anticlimactic denouement that isn't really worth the time invested. Ultimately, this is a film as generic as its title.