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The Great Heist Review 2020 Tv Show Series Season Cast Crew Online
Creators: Pablo Gonzalez, C.S. Prince
Stars: Andrés Parra, Christian Tappan, Waldo Urrego
Heist films are fantastic attempts at high-wire action, shambling comedy or both. But heist series? Sometimes they stretch the planning and execution of the heist out a bit long. But one of Netflix’s most popular series is Money Heist, so they’re in when it comes to international heist series, especially ones that are based on true stories. The Great Heist, a Colombian drama, fits that bill well. But is it good?
Opening Shot: A group of burglars are walking under a museum building, in hazmat suits and carrying lights. A graphic says “BOGATA, 1992”.
The Gist: During this heist, the group’s leader, Chayo (Andrés Parra) aka Roberto Lonzo, has faith in his safecracker, to the point where the planner of the group, the Lawyer (Christian Tappan) aka Jairo Molina Valencia, is urging the two of them to leave the big prize behind. Chayo’s hubris, however, gets both the safecracker and The Lawyer shot. Chayo leaves him behind to catch up to El Sardino (Juan Sebastián Calero) aka Vicente Morales.
Two years later, Chayo owns a jewlery shop as a front for smuggling illegal jewels. And he also owes people a lot of money, so he has El Sardino fake a robbery right before the bank comes calling. To his wife Carmen (Paula Castaño) and daughter Luisa (María Camila Zea), though, everything is fine. He even agrees to throw a small party for his daughter’s quinces.
But he’s desperate. So he goes to an old associate and begs for any job. The associate tells him about a job someone in Vallepudar wants to pull on the Bank of the Republic, i.e. the National Bank, when currency is delivered. It could mean billions of pesos to whoever pulls it off, but the source calls the job “sketchy.” Chayo doesn’t care; he needs the money.
He first goes back to Molina, now getting daily dialysis; his kidneys were wrecked after he was shot. The Lawyer is in no mood to work with Chayo again, given what happened two years prior. Still, he approaches junkyard owner and financier Mrs. K (Marcela Benjumea) aka Jackie Atehortua, telling her that The Lawyer already has a plan; he just needs 2 million pesos (enough to keep the bank off his back) to start things off. Mrs. K has no trust in Chayo, given how much money he owes her. But if he can produce Molina and a plan, she might be in. Then she stabs Chayo’s nostril for owing her money.
Chayo finds out — via a very bad impersonation of a doctor — that Molina is dying and refusing a transplant. Once he tells Molina’s wife about that, she convinces Molina to get the money so he can get on top of the transplant list (yes, probably illegally), even if the thinks that it won’t work and he’d rather die on his own terms.
So with The Lawyer and Mrs. K aboard, and El Sardino in tow, the four meet the contact in Vallepudar, with Mrs. K’s bankroll in a briefcase. When the contact basically says “rob the bank on this day, and you guys can plan the rest,” Molina is so pissed at the lack of information he leaves, and Mrs. K tells Chayo that, because she had to borrow the cash, they’re both in danger if they can’t pull this off.
Our Take: The Great Heist (Original title: El Robo del Siglo, meaning The Heist of the Century. Since there is a recent Argentinian movie out with that English name, we’re guessing that’s why Netflix changed it) is based on a real 1994 heist of the National Bank in Colombia. Pablo Gonzalez has adapted the story for this new series, and it has potential to be a good caper series. But the first episode lingers a little too long on Chayo’s desperation, to the point where we were more inclined to see him get the snot beat out of him for nonpayment.
We’ve seen Parra, who plays the desperate Chayo, pretty recently, in Amazon’s FIFAGate dramedy El Presidente. There, he applies his inherent dorkiness well, as a guy who is underestimated and thought of as a buffoon. Here, he just seems like a buffoon; with all of the flop sweat coming off of him throughout this first episode, it’s a wonder that he was ever a criminal mastermind to begin with. He seems so meek that he even gets pushed around by his teenage daughter.
The idea behind the six-episode limited series is that we’ll see an episode where Chayo puts his crew together and plans, one or two of the heist itself, one of the escape, and one or two where the authorities close in and finally capture the crew. There will be betrayals and lots of intrigue. But we’re not exactly in the mood to root for bad guys to get away with such a heist, or even think we’ll be all that happy when they’re caught.
Maybe this is just coming at the wrong time. It’s likely being positioned as a Colombian Ocean’s-style caper, but there doesn’t seem to be any of the charm that any of the versions of the Ocean’s movies had. These people aren’t charming cads; they’re desperate and dirty and don’t seem to care about anyone but themselves. Maybe that’s why we just shrugged when we got to the end of this show’s first episode.
Parting Shot: After getting admonished by Mrs. K, Chayo takes off his jacket and looks across the street at the fortress that is the National Bank building.
Sleeper Star: Calero, who plays the dumb but generous El Sardino, has potential to be the comic relief of the group, even when he does things like lend Chayo his “life savings” (from robberies) to help tie him over.
Most Pilot-y Line: Chayo’s horrible doctor impression that helped him get Molina’s medical records feels like it would never succeed, given the requirements from the people who run the records office. But he somehow gets the records, anyway. That’s TV, folks!
Our Call: SKIP IT. Not that the performances on The Great Heist aren’t good, but we just don’t care enough about any of the characters to keep following their attempt to pull this massive heist off.
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