|F. Gary Gray
|12 january 2024
Lift, directed by F. Gary Gray and starring an all-star cast led by Kevin Hart, aspires to a place in the pantheon of blockbuster heist films. Alas, the film, despite its ambitious premise, fails on many fronts, ultimately offering a viewing experience more pedestrian than captivating.
At the heart of the film is Cyrus (Kevin Hart), a charismatic criminal mastermind, and his eclectic team of specialists enlisted by Interpol to pull off a daring heist - stealing half a billion dollars' worth of gold bullion aboard an airliner. On paper, the plot looks promising, but in its execution, the film succumbs to the pitfalls of generic, forgettable storytelling.
One of the film's major shortcomings is its cast of characters, who, despite being endowed with a variety of skills, remain disappointingly one-dimensional. The lack of character development makes it difficult for the audience to establish a real connection or interest in their plight. Even the attempted romantic subplot between Cyrus and Interpol agent Abby Gladwell (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) falls flat, lacking the depth to make it compelling.
Kevin Hart, known for his comic prowess, attempts to move into a more serious, suave lead role. However, the transition isn't entirely successful, and Kevin Hart's performance feels out of place. The chemistry between him and Mbatha-Raw, which is supposed to anchor the film emotionally, fails to ignite the screen, undermining the audience's investment in the central relationship.
While the concept of the heist is cleverly conceived, it is overshadowed by the use of uninspiring editing tricks and repetitive action sequences. Special effects often border on detachment from reality, creating an aesthetic more akin to a video game than a thriller. What's more, the film's backdrop, which features European destinations such as Venice, London and Brussels, lacks the visual appeal to stand out from the plethora of action films saturating streaming platforms.
The entire cast, which includes such notable names as Vincent D'Onofrio and Jean Reno, seems largely wasted on underdeveloped characters. Only Billy Magnussen manages to stand out, injecting a dose of fun with his zany performance reminiscent of Brad Pitt's in Burn After Reading. Unfortunately, Billy Magnussen's charm isn't enough to save the film's mediocrity.
Although Lift manages to create an interesting heist, it fails to exploit the genre's potential. The film lacks the charisma, depth and originality to rise above a forgettable addition to the ever-growing catalog of action films on streaming platforms.
Lift may offer a light distraction for those looking for mindless entertainment, and may be suitable for casual viewing during a flight. However, its generic plot, underdeveloped characters and banal direction make it a regrettable entry in the heist movie genre, failing to reach the standards set by its more memorable predecessors.
Directed by F. Gary Gray
Written by Daniel Kunka
Produced by Kevin Hart, Brian Smiley, Matt Reeves, Adam Kassan, Simon Kinberg, Audrey Chon
Starring Kevin Hart, Vincent D'Onofrio, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Úrsula Corberó, Billy Magnussen, Jacob Batalon, Jean Reno, Sam Worthington
Music by Dominic Lewis, Guillaume Roussel
Production companies: Genre Films, Hartbeat Productions, 6th & Idaho Productions
Distributed by Netflix
Release date : January 12, 2024 (United States)
Running time : 104 minutes
Viewed on January 12, 2024 (Netflx)