My Take – I am a sucker for crime capers Ala Heist movies, no matter the cast or the production values, I gotta watch it! The presence of Adrien Brody only issued my interest in this film. But as the opening credits rolled, the moment I realized the stars of this film Adrien Brody, Hayden Christensen & Akon (Yes! the singer) have produced this film, a certain fear lingered in my mind – What have I gotten myself into! The story follows Frankie (Adrien Brody) from jumping right back into crime as soon as he gets released after 10 years of painful prison time. While doing time, he falls in with two gangsters, Sugar (Akon) and Ray (Tory Kittles), and feels like he owes them for the protection they provided him on the inside. But he needs his younger brother’s help. Jimmy (Hayden Christensen) is working as a mechanic and is trying to avoid trouble since he needs a bank loan for his business & is trying to get back with his ex flame Emily (Jordana Brewster) .
The two brothers reunite over a bad joke and a fistfight, but the love each feels for the other is evident from the outset; they are each others only family, and it’s the two of them against the world. Jimmy may be younger, but he is more mature and clear-headed, and as soon as he meets Sugar and Ray, he knows they are bad news. Despite his better judgment, he agrees to drive them to a rendezvous and, after it predictably goes awry, Ray makes sure Jimmy realizes that he is now involved in dirty business once more. It seems a crime film would not qualify as part of its genre, unless their isn’t a lady waiting to become potential collateral damage. Frankly I think Adrien Brody was a poor choice for the role even though he gave a solid performance. And what seems like support for him given by some black thugs he knew from prison was nothing more than exploitation of his services, and his brother’s talent with cars, in helping them rob a bank. The film further falters along with this love story subplot between the straight-laced Christensen character and Jordana Brewster’s character who happens to work for 9-1-1 dispatch. You see where this is going? Despite the efforts of Adrien Brody and Hayden Christensen, this is the worst film I have seen in a while. Wherever their inspiration came from, Brody and Christensen give fantastic performances. Brody, with tattoos all over his body and a gold chain to represent how gangster he is, has “fuck up” written all over his face as soon as we see him leave prison, turning out a truly electric performance. Christensen, in turn, is less showy as the calmer Jimmy, but he too looks motivated to bring out his very best. Two telling scenes, in particular, are so super-charged with emotion and regret that the two actors make you forget, for a second, all of the film’s drawbacks. Jordana Brewster looks great and was probably the one of the redeeming quality of the film.
Akon proves that he’s just as forgettable as an actor as he is a music artist and having his music included in the soundtrack only added to the ridiculousness of this film. The film is around 1 hour and a half long, and the heist itself starts after 1 hour in. I’m not saying that the heist preparations take 1 hour. But don’t know what they were doing all this time!! Let’s just pop in the bank with guns, take everyone hostage and hope nobody notices from outside. From now on, you’ll mostly watch brothers talking gravely and crying in each others arms, but with their faces covered. Armenian director Sarik Andreasyan makes his English language debut, with a screenplay written by Raul Inglis, whose last writing gig was for an Uwe Boll film (oh that explains a lot!) & they together have successfully tarnished the whole genre for at least a year to come. On the whole ‘American Heist’ is clearly a Heat (1995) wannabe written by an 11-year-old with limited awareness of reality and the human condition which misuses its leading men talents to create blaspheme! Yup its that bad!
Director – Sarik Andreasyan
Rated – NR
Run Time – 94 minutes