'The Last Heist': Film Review
Henry Rollins plays a serial killer picking off bank robbers one by one in this crime/horror thriller directed by Mike Mendez.
Sometimes even the worst movies deliver valuable nuggets of information. Take this tidbit from Mike Mendez's (Big Ass Spider) new thriller about a bank robbery gone awry.
"I'm texting 911," one of the hostages informs the others.
"I didn't even know you could do that," another marvels.
Well, it turns out that, yes, you can, at least in some parts of the country. Try to remember that the next time you're trapped with a home invader and don't want to risk being overheard calling the police.
Otherwise, the main selling point of The Last Heist is its high-concept hybrid of crime drama and horror film. It tells the tale of a gang of unlucky bank robbers who, mid-job, find themselves trapped on the premises with a serial killer who gleefully embraces the opportunity to slaughter a smorgasbord of new victims.
Fortunately for viewers, the psycho, Bernard, dubbed "The Windows Killer" due to his propensity to remove the eyes of his victims — he takes quite literally the idea that they're the window to the soul — is played by Henry Rollins. Clad in a nondescript dark suit, Clark Kent-style glasses and sporting a gray buzz cut, the rocker/spoken-word artist/actor is supremely creepy as the deceptively calm madman who has mastered his craft.
After slashing one unlucky robber's femoral artery, he authoritatively informs her, "I estimate you have nine minutes to live," although not without adding the caveat, "I'm no doctor."
After eagerly inquiring how it feels to have the life draining out of your body, he considerately points out, "I'm not laughing at you … I'm laughing with you."
Rollins' villain is a deliciously deranged, compelling character, but the problem is that there's not enough of him in this otherwise routine B-movie clearly shot on the cheap, with low-grade CGI effects making the shootouts and gore mostly laughable. The same could be said of the plotting, which includes gang leader Paul (Torrance Combs) making the startling discovery that one of the bank employees is his estranged brother (Michael Aaron Milligan). Needless to say, their reunion isn't a happy one.
Degenerating into familiar cops vs. robbers tropes with an occasional attempt at social commentary thrown in — Paul is a former military man, a background which provided him the training for his new vocation — The Last Heist is surprisingly lacking in suspense despite the myriad casualties among its characters. Fortunately, Rollins' killer — spoiler alert — survives, giving one hope that his memorable psycho will show up again in another, better movie.
Distributor: XLrator Media
Production companies: Parkside Pictures, Tadross Media Group, Benattar/Thomas Productions
Cast: Henry Rollins, Torrance Combs, Michael Aaron Milligan, Mark Kelly, Kristina Klebe, John J. York, Victoria Pratt
Director: Mike Mendez
Screenwriter: Guy Stevenson
Producers: Rick Benattar, Nigel Thomas
Executive producers: Danny Roth, Damiano Tucci, Michael Tadross Jr., Kaila York, Barry Gordon, Michael Radiloff, Courtney Compton
Director of photography: Jan-Michael Losada
Production designer: Lauren Meyer
Editors: Mike Mendez, Laurens Van Charante
Costume designer: Elizabeth Magallanes
Composer: Alexander Bornstein
Casting: Paul Ruddy
Not rated, 85 minutes