Scripted by Wendell Mayes, based on the novel by Donald E. Westlake, "Bank Shot" tells a farcical story with some style. George C. Scott stars, playing the same character that Robert Redford played in the film version of "The Hot Rock", albeit with a different name. Walter Upjohn Ballantyne is a career criminal who breaks out of jail in order to participate in a most unusual bank robbery. He and his cohorts won't just attempt to steal its money, they'll make off with the bank itself! In order to see what I mean, you'll just have to watch this one.
The movie isn't exactly perfect. For one thing, it might have been nice to have some genuine tension. It also tends to have frenetic sequences of actors shouting over each other and rendering their dialogue unintelligible. However, the fact that it is so blatantly comedic helps to make up, somewhat, for any holes there are in the script.
Guided by actor & director Gower Champion ("Show Boat", "My Six Loves"), "Bank Shot" does have incredible comic energy, and is paced extremely well, wrapping up in a tidy 84 minutes. Its main value is the chemistry between an eclectic ensemble: a very amusing Scott, lovely Joanna Cassidy ("Blade Runner") as the jet setter bankrolling the heist, Sorrell "Boss Hogg" Booke as Ballantynes' shady lawyer, Bob Balaban ("Altered States") as the lawyers' shady nephew, Don Calfa ("The Return of the Living Dead") as the getaway driver, Bibi Osterwald ("As Good as it Gets") as the drivers' mom, and Frank McRae ("48 Hrs.") as the hot tempered safecracker. Look, also, for Liam Dunn ("Blazing Saddles") as a painter and Jack Riley ('The Bob Newhart Show') as an FBI agent. Clifton James ("Live and Let Die") is Ballantynes' nemesis, a prison warden who's actually a fairly amiable character.
Bright widescreen photography and a peppy John Morris music score help to make this an agreeable, if not outstanding, comic crime caper. It never does get very unpleasant, which may further enhance its appeal for some viewers.
Seven out of 10.
A bank, temporarily housed in a mobile home while a new building is built, looks like an easy target. On the other hand, why not steal the whole bank and rob it in a safer location?
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August 16, 2015 at 12:48 PM