Resolutely old-fashioned and simplistic, this by-the-numbers heist movie – which thinks it is far more funny and engaging than it really is – may well work as a calling card for use of stylish UAE locations and technical talent but never really gets going despite a game lead performance by Pierce Brosnan as a suave pickpocket and master heist planner.
Brosnan has done heist films before – think the The Thomas Crown Affair remake and After the Sunset – and despite some heavy-handed direction still exudes real Hollywood charm, and he is the main draw for The Misfits which has recently landed on Amazon Prime.
He plays pickpocket Richard Pace who finds himself recruited by a mismatched team calling themselves ‘The Misfits’ who see themselves as modern-day Robin Hoods. They consist of bank robber Ringo (Nick Cannon), pyrotechnic wizard Wick (Mike Angelo), martial arts supremo Violet (Jamie Chung) and con man and supposed crown royalty “the Prince” (film maker Rami Jaber, who makes his feature acting debut in a film he also exec produced).
Their overly complex and rather contrived plan is to stop a prison builder named Schultz (Tim Roth, who can never seem to take the whole thing overly seriously) who is storing gold bars destined to go to a Middle Eastern terrorist operation. They aim to break-into the Dola Penal Institute, food-poison the inmate population and use the distraction to drill into the vault and make away with the gold.
Like any number of heist films it is all rather predictable despite an attempt to layer in more than a few double and triple crosses, and while director Renny Harlin is a sure hand at actions scenes (he did make Die Hard 2 and Cliffhanger after all) the whole film is far too simplistic to really engage. Sure there are plenty of supercars, scenes in luxury hotels and scantily dressed models, but it all feels very 1990s…in all the wrong ways.
The Dubai and Abu Dhabi locations make for splendid backdrops, but despite Palestinian-born Rami Jaber’s involvement the representation of Arabs on screen here is less than enlightened. The best thing here is Pierce Brosnan (also an executive producer) who tries to rack up his charm level to try and breeze through the shiny but overly convoluted storyline.
US-UAE, 2021, 94mins
Dir Renny Harlin
Production Film Gate, Kia Jam
Producers Mansoor Al Dhaheri, Kia Jam, Dean Altit
Screenplay Kurt Wimmer, Robert Henny
Denis Alarcon Ramirez
Editor: Coleen Rafferty
Music: Lasse Enersen, Trevor Rabin
Main cast: Pierce Brosnan, Rami Jaber, Hermione Corfield, Jamie Chung, Mike Angelo, Tim Roth, Nick Cannon, Tim Roth