director: Renny Harlin (die hard 2, deep blue sea)
starring: pierce brosnan, nick cannon, hermione cornfield and tim roth
REVIEWER: nick tonkin
After being recruited by a group of unconventional thieves, renowned criminal Richard Pace finds himself caught up in an elaborate gold heist that promises to have far-reaching implications on his life and the lives of countless others.
The Misfits is a breezy heist comedy with some big names attached, that doesn’t ask much of the viewer, nor overstay its welcome. These elements alone would make it a fun session at the cinema.
The Misfits was directed by the same man who helmed Die Hard 2, Renny Harlin, and stars Pierce Brosan in the lead as Richard Pace. Pace is a suave renowned career crook who is recruited by The Misfits, a highly skilled group of thieves who act for humanitarian reasons.
Pace, however, is being relentlessly pursued by Tim Roth’s Schultz, a ruthless businessman and owner of private prisons (one of which Pace recently escaped from). Schultz haunts the group as they mobilise their plans to heist the gold of a wealthy representative of a country accused of great humanitarian crises. This individual had also made the peculiar choice of storing his gold bullion in the vaults of a Schultz maximum security prison, leading to a juicy situation for Pace and The Misfits, that of hitting two birds with one stone.
Despite some great names attached to the film, The Misfits certainly doesn’t punch above its weight in terms of the quality of the acting from its cast. Pierce is a little hammy as the American career criminal Pace, and probably a decade or so past completely convincing at playing a Danny Ocean type character.
Tim Roth however, as great an actor as he is, looks as though he signed on for the holiday in Dubai. His portrayal of Schultz was almost funny in how he made his character seem so unconcerned and chill about the whole situation, despite how the plot expects Shultz to be motivated to violence, desperate to avoid the consequences of failure.
Strangely, I found his character very entertaining due to this incongruity, and to be fair, it matched the breezy nature of the film. The darkest it all gets is in the monologue delivered by Schultz’s disappointed and soon to be gold-free client, where the man pontificates on his talent for seeing the truth of another person in their eyes, especially when he is holding them in his hands. Yikes.
The Misfits can also rely on tropes at times to implicitly communicate with the audience. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, rather that it reveals the economical nature of the script. For instance, it avoids justifying the third act machinations of how the heist plays out, as the film safely assumes the audience would have seen any other heist movie made in the last two decades and can fill in the gaps from those experiences.
The Misfits sports quite a cast, and while it doesn't stand up to the level of the films it leans on like the Ocean's series, its lightheartedness and Robin Hood-esque squad help make it an easy and pleasant watch.