U/A; Action, Thriller
Director: Scott Mann
Cast: Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Robert De Niro, Dave Bautista, Gina Carano
This film has a plot similar to the Sandra Bullock money-spinner 'Speed' but that's where the comparison begins and ends. The reasoning is totally different here. A father, Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) has to cough up big money to pay for the medical treatment of his terminally ill daughter. And he happens to be working as a croupier for a stinking rich casino criminal, Pope (Robert De Niro) who refuses to part with even a single penny on compassionate grounds.
Watch the trailer of 'Bus 657'
Vaughn doesn't do much thinking or trying to find the moolah from elsewhere and at the opportune time he gets an offer from a co-worker (Dave Bautista) to storm Pope's safe-vault and exit with the necessary cash. Two more men join in the act and together they plan it all out in great detail. But as movie plots go, this one too doesn't fall into place as they conceived it. The driver who was to help them make their escape gets a case of heebie-jeebies and vamooses from the site of the crime and so the trio left behind has no alternative but to wing it, running on foot and catching a municipal bus #657 which they hijack to ensure their safety. Luckily for them the cash is not accounted for and Pope has no hope in getting the cops involved. But what they did not account for was the Chief Detective giving chase was one of the guys who fed off Pope on a regular basis. So the action gets interesting for a bit before it all peters out into a honorable climax.
The film, originally titled 'Heist', Scott Mann's second directorial venture after the well received 'The Tournament' has a weak screenplay that is intent on making the main characters look good despite their pre-occupation with crime. The exposition exposes the desperate times that our hero is going through and then drives home his reasons for going bad. And in the other turnaround you have the casino owner trying to make up for lost time, hoping for reconciliation with his daughter and towards the end having a change of heart that will leave the audience almost rooting for him.
It's quite confusing when there's no clear cut difference between the good and the bad. Most of the events play out in predictable fashion. The chase is reasonably gripping and the twists that account for the escape and safety from apprehension border on humanitarian and ethical premises. There's no real tension to draw you in and the suspense is a little too vapid to make a difference in engagement.