When it comes to heist movies, there’s always an element of excitement and anticipation. The thrill of the chase, the clever strategies, and the unexpected twists and turns. But what happens when a heist movie fails to soar? That’s the case with “Lift,” a Netflix film directed by F. Gary Gray and starring Kevin Hart. Despite its promising premise, “Lift” never quite reaches the heights it aims for.
An Unfortunate Timing
“A case study in the downside of timeliness,” is how “Lift” could be described. The film revolves around the concept of an NFT (non-fungible token) increasing in value, which might have been plausible a couple of years ago. However, with the majority of NFTs now deemed worthless, the film’s central plot device loses its relevance. This unfortunate timing sets the stage for a lackluster heist movie experience.
A Cliché-Ridden Adventure
Even with F. Gary Gray at the helm, “Lift” falls victim to clichés and lacks the originality needed to make it stand out among other heist films. The plot follows Cyrus Whitaker (played by Kevin Hart), the head of a group of thieves, as they team up with Interpol for one last job. The mission? To stop a terrorist and save the day. It’s a tired formula that fails to bring anything new to the table.
One of the biggest issues with “Lift” is the lack of chemistry between the lead actors. Kevin Hart’s portrayal of Cyrus Whitaker feels forced and out of place. His attempt to win over Abby Gladwell (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw), a representative of Interpol, falls flat. Mbatha-Raw’s performance outshines Hart’s, leaving the audience longing for a more compelling dynamic between the two characters.
Thinly Written Characters
In addition to the chemistry mismatch, the characters in “Lift” suffer from being thinly written. The ensemble cast, including Denton (Vincent D’Onofrio), Camila (Úrsula Corberó), and Magnus (Billy Magnussen), all have their roles within the group, but they lack depth and fail to make a lasting impact. Despite the actors’ efforts, the characters come across as mere cogs in the machine, failing to resonate with the audience.
A Missed Opportunity for Parody
At times, “Lift” seems to flirt with the idea of being a parody of the heist genre, akin to the successful film “Spy.” However, it never fully commits to this direction. Kevin Hart’s comedic delivery and the inherent silliness of certain scenes could have been utilized to create a more enjoyable experience. Unfortunately, the film takes itself too seriously, missing the chance to embrace its potential for laughs.
A Director’s Skill Cannot Overcome Weak Writing
F. Gary Gray is an accomplished director known for his work in music videos and action-packed films like “Friday” and “Straight Outta Compton.” While his direction in “Lift” is competent, the film’s weak screenplay hinders his ability to elevate the material. The scenes are filled with clichés and uninspired dialogue, making it difficult for Gray to showcase his talent for crafting engaging action sequences.
The Streaming Experience
“Lift” is the kind of film that might have fared better in a theatrical setting, where the energy of the audience could have elevated its shortcomings. Watching it at home emphasizes its lackluster elements, making it a forgettable addition to the streaming landscape. It’s a reminder that not all films are suited for the small screen, and “Lift” falls victim to this challenge.
The Art of NFTs and Films
In a climactic scene, Kevin Hart’s character muses about the future of NFTs, saying that all art depends on the artist. This sentiment rings true, but unfortunately, it doesn’t bode well for “Lift.” The film fails to showcase the artistry required to make a memorable heist movie, leaving the audience disappointed and longing for something more.