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There are two kinds of b movies out there, the ones that are jammed together in the most cynical fashion to wrench out a few bucks and nothing more. then there's movies like 'Dead Heist' where you can just tell that people with little to no budget got together for love of making movies and had a great time in the process. The dialogue is foul and quite hilarious for it, and while the plot is meager at best, there is something infectious (truly no pun intended) about the way everyone involved gives it their all. The small town locations are put to good use, and the violence is never anything but comic book bloody. This movie is nothing but fun and that is all it was ever meant to be. By the way, Zach Hanner rocks.
In Miami, four smalltime thieves leaded by Ski (Brandon Hardin) decide
to rob a bank in the small town of Maysville. The lord Hustle (E-40)
demands a 10% commission and sends his experienced bodyguard Ackson
(D.J. Naylor) to help the gang in their plan. He goes to the target
bank to check the security system, but Ski decides to anticipate the
plan for that afternoon. They succeed in the heist, but Deputy Kate
(T-Love) activates the alarm and one of the criminals shoots Deputy
Duff. When the bank is under siege of the police force, they are
attacked by weird creatures. The former government agent Hunter (Big
Daddy Kane) comes to the bank and tells that the vampire zombies had
been contaminated by an experimental virus developed by the government
through the subjects that have escaped from the laboratory, attacking
people in the New Moon to feed themselves. The group joins force to
survive to the massive attack of the creatures.
The trash and gore "Dead Heist" is watchable without anything special. The story about a deadly heist in a wrong night is not original and should be better developed; the acting is flat, and the dialogs do not help the cast; and the special effects are only reasonable. My vote is four.
Title (Brazil): "Noite Infernal" ("Hell Night")
A bank heist goes horribly bad when (what else) the dead come in for
As far as recent Urban Zombie movies go, "Dead Heist" is better than "Zombiez," but worse than "Hood of the Living Dead" and "Gangs of the Dead." That's not saying much, especially when you consider the fact that "Hood" and "Gangs" are bad movies too.
The dead here are cut from the same cloth as the speedy zombies from the "Dawn of The Dead" remake and the infected from "28 Days Later" and it's sequel, only generic instead of interesting or frightening. The gore is nothing new, though the fact that the dead can only be killed by being shot in the heart (and you're to blame...) is a poor attempt at trying something different.
As far as acting goes, Big Daddy Kane does the best job. He's not good, mind you, but he does the best job. Amusingly, while Bone Crusher and E-40 are advertised as staring in it, yet they aren't in the movie for very long-Bone Crusher appears in the beginning as a patron in a strip club so tame it could have passed for MTV's "The Grind", then disappears. Meanwhile, E-40 has less than 5 minutes of screen time as a porn director, and gives a "alright, where's my paycheck already" level performance. The rest of the cast ranges from a dead ringer for Vin Diesel to the white female cop, a white businessman thinking of joining the Nation of Islam (ha ha), and plenty of stereotypical gang banger characters.
While not the worst recent Urban horror movie, there's still nothing worth recommending here. I have no idea whether or not the fact that this reminded me of the "Attack of the Street Pimps" bit from "Hollywood Shuffle" is a good thing or a bad thing. It's probably a bad thing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"Dead Heist" is a somewhat decent and entertaining urban zombie opus
with a few problems.
Tired of hustling on the street, Malcolm, (Dominic L. Santana) Ski, (Brandon Hardin) Trey, (Michael Braxton) and Bone, (Chris Bailey) decide to rob a bank, as they hear it's got enough money to get them off the streets. After making plans with Hustle, (E-40) who provides back-up assistance in the form of Jackson, (D.J. Naylor) they all feel screwed over but soon get over it and proceed with their plans. Throwing those aside, they go through with the robbery ahead of schedule, much to his displeasure. Getting caught in a trap with the police, they are forced to spend the night hiding out in the bank. As night falls and their tensions toward each other reach a fever pitch, they notice a gang of ravenous humans attacking and eating everyone else outside. Discovering they're zombies created from an Army medical experiment gone awry, they try to hold off the creatures enough to escape with the money.
The Good News: This one had a few good points to it. The main thing with this one is that there's a really nice back-story for the creatures, which makes for some really good times. The medical experiment thread has been done before, but this time it actually works for the film. The experiment is announced and would actually do some good to humanity rather than just being simply a reason to unleash the zombie hordes, and when it all comes out, the changes made to them make the creatures a lot better than average zombies. It logically gets away from the head-shot kill and uses the changes, by forcing them to come out only at night or the behavior they exhibit. These changes here are pretty great and by incorporating them into the film, makes the film really fun. The zombies here also have another big plus in the big action in here. There's a lot of these kinds of scenes at the end, which is great fun and really enjoyable. From the first attacks that were one-on-one off in the solitary rooms all the way to the full-on assault later on, there's a lot of fun action in this one. The assault at the end is the best, since it's where they all just start shooting up the zombies in a flurry of gunfire, impaling, blood-spraying and much more. It's so long that it eventually just becomes better the longer it goes on, and with some nice bloodshed done as well, it's enough to make it enjoyable. The last good part is the really impressive opening, which is really creepy, unexpected and doesn't disappoint. These elements make this one relatively fun.
The Bad News: This one here does have a few rather big flaws to it. The zombies in here are responsible for two of the biggest ones. The bigger of the two is that, since there's so much time spent on the set-up of the bank-robbery, they hardly get any real time on-screen. Besides the opening attack and the fight at the end, they're absent from most of the movie, and in a zombie movie, that's never a real good sign. That forces the film into long stretches of inactivity, and these are hardly interesting as the film focuses on them and their struggles for too much instead of the zombie action. The other fact, that they're of the running zombie variety which makes them inferior to the other zombie variety. Rather than being scarier, all they do is irritate when something should've been done about it. They can't scare as many since there's nothing about them similar to the classic zombie model. Aside from these, the next biggest problem some will have with it will be the rather bland dialogue in here, since nearly everything in here is cursing of some sort, even in situations that don't call for it. It's hard to really get into the explanations for everything when they're cursing at every turn, and that really hurts the film as well. These here are the film's problems.
The Final Verdict: Certainly not that terrible, but with enough to round it out, this one here is a rather decent zombie entry that has some good points. Give it a shot if you're into the urban-horror genre, a more discriminating zombie fan or in the mood for a harmless fun, otherwise heed caution with this one.
Rated R: Extreme Graphic Language, Graphic Violence, Nudity and a mild sex scene
O.k so normally I avoid straight to DVD horrors like the plague (I love
the old school cheapo video stuff but this shot on video garbage we see
today is really nauseating) unless instructed to do otherwise by a
trusted source of info. After reading the synopsis I was intrigued I'm
a huge fan of zombie cinema (I know there not strictly "stenches" but
you've got to take what you get these days) and also a hip-hop head so
seeing Big Daddy Kane and E-Fonzarelli in the cast led me to take a
risk and watch this film. I must say I was pleasantly surprised, with a
little more financial backing and solid acting this could have done the
rounds at cinemas everywhere especially after the strong showing of
films such as the Dawn remake and more recently 28 weeks later. Big
Daddy Kane was a pleasure to watch as the hunter, while Kanes no Brando
he glides along on the charisma hes's shown since his rap heyday. The
plot is tight and original the blending of genres here mesh well
although heist films and zombie films often take on a siege setting so
it isn't much of a stretch. The acting is decent and the direction
although derivative is of a certain standard. The only real let down of
the film is the special effects and make up it's really bog standard
and the final scene is really let down by this. The films run time is
only around 75 mins so it rarely has the chance to slow down and begin
All in all it was a good effort all round maybe 6 is too generous of a rating seeing as some classic films fail to hit that mark on the IMDb but it's early in the A.M i'm tired but happy so what the hell. Long Live The KANE
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Dead Heist starts in Miami as ex-marine Ackson (D.J. Naylor) becomes
fed up with his job as a bodyguard for big time gangster Hustle (E-40)
& wants out, meanwhile four of Hustle's minor drug dealers named Ski
(Brandon Xavier), Trey (Michael Braxton), Bone (Chris Bailey) & Malcolm
(Dominic L. Santana) also want to better themselves. Malcolm speaks to
his uncle (Charlie Lucas) about robbing a bank & before you know it the
four friends have a plan to make their fortunes. However they need guns
& go to Hustle to ask for help, he agrees but only if he has a cut of
the loot & if Ackson goes along to watch out for his interests & make
sure the job isn't messed up. Reluctantly the five drive to the small
town of Maysville where the well stocked bank sits, even though Ackson
wants to plan the job properly the other four decide to go in all guns
blazing & after the alarm is tripped they become trapped inside the
bank with the local police outside, but that is the least of their
problems as when night falls cannibalistic zombies flood the town
killing & eating anyone they catch...
Directed by Bo Webb this horror comedy crime caper mixture reminds of From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) in the structure of the script where the opening is purely a crime caper as a robbery goes wrong before taking a very different direction & turning into a horror film as the zombies attack our trapped protagonist's. To be fair to Dead Heist after I realised it was an 'urban' film & maybe an attempt at a modern Blaxploitation flick I shuddered at how bad I expected it to be but I actually thought it was quite good, Dead Heist is no masterpiece by any means but for what it is I found it fairly entertaining & at just over 70 minutes long at least it's short enough not to outstay it's welcome or become annoying. The obvious slant towards black culture & reference & hip-hop jive talking profanity laden dialogue is apparent & while I must admit to not understanding everything that was being said (I speak the Queen's English...) I did find some of it amusing but it's not all good news. Far from it. There's nothing new here, the lack of any big set-pieces or significant gore doesn't help & I suspect much of the film was dictated by the low budget which means the most unsecure bank ever, it's touching to see all the zombies suddenly stop attack Ackson at the end while he comforts his mate who has been bitten & we never get to see any of the town or it's people. Then there are the zombies which are never really explained beyond they escaped from a Government laboratory (yes, that old cliché again...) after a failed experiment or why they can only be killed by being shot through the heart. Overall I thought Dead Heist was quite punchy & quite amusing at times with a likable bunch of character's but it's low budget origins hinder it & it can't quite decide what it wants to be & as a result is a bit of everything.
Dead Heist also looks quite good considering it's low budget origins, there's no shaky hand-held camcorder crap or machine gun editing which I hate so much if it's overused & it looks a step-up from the average television film. There's not a lot of gore here, there's some blood splatter & a few bit wounds but nothing else of note. There's a little nudity & a brief lesbian scene. There does seem to be some blatant product placement here as well with virtually all the character's at the start wearing Averix shirts.
The IMDb says that Dead Heist had a budget of about $250,000 which sounds about right, filmed in Wilmington in North Carolina. The acting varies, most of it enthusiastic with the bland D.J. Naylor the worst of the leads. Rappers E-40, Bone Crusher & Big Daddy Kane feature although thankfully their music doesn't.
Dead Heist wasn't anywhere near as bad as I expected it to be, it wasn't great but it has it's amusing moments & the mixture of genres is a little random but gives it a bit of variety. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it either, a commendable effort.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Zombies, our times jack-of-all-trades movie monsters return once more
to plague a bunch of gangsters who happen to pull off a heist in the
That's more or less the complete storyline. Not that I protest too loudly, because most b-grade zombie flicks don't offer much more in the line of storytelling. Alas, Dead Heist, while at least struggling to patch some back-story onto the main characters in the first half, totally abandons anything but pointless dialog in the second and forgets more or less what the heck is the point of a storyline anyway.
The cast of course is not exactly 1st class material: Big Daddy Kane is okay, Brandon Hardin manages to pull off quite an okay performance while D. J. Naylor seems way too nice to be the battle-hardened veteran and Traci Dinwiddie dunno, she mouths the gun-blasts in the final battle, as if to dub them ... meh. And the zombie extras we'll get back to them. Director Bo Webb at least manages to do some nice shots and the movie's picture quality is better than others in this class of film-making.
The first thing that is somewhat dolorous in Dead Heist is that the zombies are nicely introduced while rolling the front credits, but then forgotten for about an hour and when they are brought back you'd wish the wait would have been worth it. You are wrong. Overall, the zombies were in fact the biggest problem in this flick. That is because Anghus Houvouras (the writer) seems to fancy himself imaginative when he makes them a hybrid from the "fast dead" (as seen in 28 Days Later) and vampires (they drink blood). So far, so yawn but what's with the "you have to shoot them in the heart to kill them"? Headshots are overdone or what? Surely, zombies usually need a good 12-gauge to the head to keel over but while it has been of course done a hundred times it is a far more "believable" than killing them with a shot through the heart. But maybe the guys were out for virgin soil or whatever. Then again, the back-story of the "governmental experiments gone awry" sounds somewhat familiar ... but who cares? Nobody but Kane's character as it seems which is total bull if you follow the background story of them vile undead (or whatever they are): they move south for some time, killing their way through the US of A. Yeah. And nobody knows. Good zombie cinema usually is themed the Zombie Apocalypse way (i.e. the world is overrun by them) but here all is quiet and the hordes of undead are traveling unmolested far and wide. Makes no sense. That they burrow into the ground for the day (as far as the explanation from the zombie-hunter goes) doesn't help. All this of course wouldn't have troubled the seasoned b-grade movie-fan if not for the total swizz the zombies turn out to be when they finally make their appearance. Not only did they get astonishing numbers of bad extras for the zombies (many stumble around like straw-puppets not sure what to do), they are also totally not frightening and not able to kill four people who are armed with knifes when coming at them at a 25:1 ratio.
The final battle is one of the great anti-climaxes of the year. Not only do the movie-makers want us to believe that as it seems the whole small town in which the heist takes place is turned into undead morons (which of course nobody seems to pay mind the place is all but deserted apart for the zombies), but also that the "great plan to eradicate them all" of Mr. Kane's character is, well, to shoot them all with handguns and stab them with knifes. In one of the most silly fights in zombie-flick history they of course succeed (with small back-story interplay and demise of the zombie hunter) and then walk away in the morning sun. Not that anyone in the outside world would have had noticed the nocturnal undead massacre or maybe the missing neighbors.
If that final folly would not have been that paining and the zombies would have been more than totally harmless duds the movie would have been much better. The undead were never that toothless as here. And that's sad.
All in all an underwhelming gangster flick, but a total washout when it comes to being zombie horror. Zombie-maniacs might sit through this one, but they will be disappointed. People who like gangster-movies will more likely stick to it, as the part without the zombies is the better one. This one doesn't hurt, but rather leaves you with a stale taste.
(And what's it again with the "Dead" in the title? Any damn zombie flick now more features it, or the equivalent "... of the Dead". Show some imagination, lads.)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
George Romero himself (the man whose take on zombies has helped redefine the fright film for the past four decades) put it best: "It's not about the ZOMBIES, man!" Filmmakers who don't grasp whereof he spoke make movies like DEAD HEIST- movies that usually boast some impressive, though often no-budget fx (or even- as in this case- some great zombie "crowd" scenes), but very little in the way of character or story upon which to, say, hang a review. The internet, at present, boasts a veritable plethora of such shorts. In fact, there are five "winners" (picked by Romero himself) included among the DIARY OF THE DEAD extras. Like GANGS OF THE DEAD, DEAD HEIST has its moments (including some decent actors trying to make the most of bad writing, as well as some sometimes surprisingly competent direction), but the one thing both movies have in common is a lack of character(s). Let this be a lesson to those of you who would follow in Romero's footsteps: It ain't about the ZOMBIES, man!
Four small time gangsters go to pull off a bank job in a small town out
in the sticks that turns into over the top video game type killing of
flesh eating zombies. Video game type movies can get away with bare
bones no real story line plots like this. Just look at the previews for
Resident Evil: Extinction. It's not like they need to write a story for
the movie. All they need to do is figure out places for zombies to get
D.J. Naylor wasn't good or bad. He was just kind of there trying too hard to be Vin Diesel. E-40 only being shown in the movie on a cameo type role stole the whole movie. Been nice to have him as one of the gangsters fighting the flesh eating zombies. Big Daddy Kane was like a plastic man out there on some parts, then got down on other. The action scenes he looked on his game. When he had to explain the flesh eating zombie story to D.J. Naylor it was painful. Two mellow characters on screen don't work. The rest of the actors didn't stand out either way.
The picture was clean. Director Bo Webb did a hell of a good job on calling the shots. The cuts he used to show money, guns, zombie faces, and blood was off the hook. All the time you see one big shot of all the actors like you're outside looking in. In this movie Director Bo Webb brought you in to the movie full on. The camera showed all kinds of detail.
DEAD HEIST was right on the money trying to roll a urban movie into a horror movie. It's been done in other movies put out by bigger studios like Tales from the Hood and Leprechaun: Back 2 tha Hood. The different thing on this movie was it wasn't preachy or silly. It just wasn't pulled off. Good plan. Poor execution. Check it out to see E-40 and what Director Bo Webb did. Both got more movies in the future.
Story Synopsis: Ex-soldier Ackson is getting tired of the babysitting
jobs his boss, the rap mogul Hustle, gives him, intending to quit for a
better lifestyle. Hustle agrees, promising to give Ackson one last job.
Meanwhile, a group of young hoods are planning a heist, working on a
tip from an imprisoned uncle who was a master bank robber, targeting a
banking depot in a small town south of Miami. They approach Hustle for
support, Hustle agreeing to the deal on two conditions they must give
him a sizable cut of the profits & they must take Ackson along for
insurance. Arriving in the town, Ackson tells the gang to lie low in a
motel while he cases the bank. But the hoods, being the impatient
boneheads they are, hit the bank while Ackson is still inside. As is
expected with all rush jobs, the plan goes awry with the robbers
shooting a cop in cold blood & their getaway driver panics & flees with
the car. But that is not the worst of it once night falls, an army of
the undead stages an assault on the town.
Film Analysis: Sometimes you just don't know which direction a genre will go. After coming back to life in the early 2000s, the zombie film has produced some pretty wild combinations. There have been films about zombie soldiers, zombie cops, zombie vigilantes & so on. But until 2007 there has never been a film about zombies & hip-hop. Before I continue, I must admit that I'm not a big fan of the whole hip-hop / rap scene. In saying that, I don't mean the gritty urban poetry of the late Tupac Shakur or even Eminem's clever self-depreciating lyrics. I mean the whole gangster rap genre, with various untalented rappers trying to glorify a life where women are treated as objects, pimping, illegal substances & drive-by shootings are seen as fashionable things to do & so on. Here's a tip for those hip-hop stars: if you want to make it big, try holding down a good blue-collar job & support your various families by renouncing gang life & stop treating women as sex objects they are human beings too.
Dead Heist is a rather strange mix of horror film & crime flick, with a group of bank robbers trapped in a bank with an army of zombie-like vampires roaming outside. As far as plot goes, it is really an uncredited adaptation of the classic novel I Am Legend marketed for the hip-hop crowd. In that regard it is hard to fault. But what really stands out about the film is the fact that horror & hip-hop don't go too well together. One of the most notorious attempts in this field was Da Hip Hop Witch, an extremely infantile filmic experiment where a bunch of rappers (including a young Eminem) would tell off-the-cuff improvised stories about encountering a witch, their stories being completely nonsensical & unintentionally hilariously inept. And the less said about the later Leprechaun sequels, the better.
While its marketing might be hard to fault, what makes Dead Heist strictly a mediocre film is that the film doesn't do anything other than to put a cast of young hoods in a tough situation & have them deal with it solely by acting tough, shooting at anything that moves & overusing F-words. There is no innovation here (despite the novelty value of the plot) or even cohesive filmmaking, just a routine zombie film.
Which brings me to the zombies. The creatures shown here are not exactly zombies instead they are generic undead. Their traits are quite interesting the creatures come out at night & only on a new moon; they can only be stopped by a shot or blow to the heart but don't make any sense biologically. Particularly their weakness, which brings them closer to being vampires than zombies. Director Bo Webb mishandles the action scenes a few times, most notably in the climax where the survivors take on the dozens of 'zombies' by shooting their pistols wildly & swiping away with their knives this is probably the least convincing (& most flatly directed) human versus zombie fight in the whole of the 2000s.
On the acting front, the cast give some okay performances, in particular D.J. Naylor, who manages to get the mix of hard-headed professionalism & perpetually-annoyed irritableness down perfectly, making a pretty good hero (for a white boy!). Traci Dinwiddie makes a nice heroine as the female deputy while Zach Hanner makes the most of his limited role as the bank manager. As for the black members of the cast, E-40 does the usual stereotypical role of the rap mogul who plans criminal acts while making lesbian porn on the side while rapper Big Daddy Kane actually does a good job as the ex-government mercenary who has hunted the creatures since the beginning.
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