Heist movies can be a lot of things, but at the very least they’re usually entertaining to some extent. Some are funny and smart while others are obnoxious and jaw-dropping. Anyone watching a heist movie instantly thinks about what they would do in that given situation because planning and pulling off a bank robbery is fun to think about.
You’d be forgiven if you assumed Bruce Willis and Michael Chiklis teaming up for such a film would inspire a plot worthy of attention. Unfortunately, 10 Minutes Gone lacks its own inspiration with a simplified plot and unmotivated cast.
10 Minutes Gone
Director: Brian A. Miller
Release Date: September 27th, 2019
Rex (Willis) manages a crew of bank robbers that he doesn’t actually ever meet with. Everything is done at a distance, mainly an empty floor with lots of glass windows for him to stare out of. Rex works the deals, then hires his crew to complete whatever job his client needs. This time around, the job is to break into a bank vault and take a case that contains valuable diamonds that actually look laughably fake when revealed. During the ensuing heist, things go wrong (as they do), and the head of the crew, Frank (Chiklis), gets knocked out and the case goes missing.
Over the rest of the film, Frank tries to piece together the missing minutes (all ten of them) to complete the puzzle of betrayal. He works his way through each crew member while Rex’s right-hand woman and cleaner is hot on his trail. Frank has to survive long enough to convince Rex that he wasn’t the traitor, but he needs answers first. As Frank levels up with a trail of bodies, the truth comes out.
The first and probably most discouraging thing is how little Willis and Chiklis seem to care about this film. Neither invokes a sense of emotion, making it painfully obvious the two big names are phoning it in and detracting from the story. Sometimes strong leads are rising tides that bring the supporting cast to a new level. This isn’t one of those times. The supporting cast is painfully difficult to care about, even a little. When the girlfriend of a deceased crew member is given the news of her lover’s demise, she blankly asks “what do we do now?” This continues with each crew member as Frank grills them for info, eventually killing them before they can kill him.
The second is the plot itself. At first it sounds plausible, but only at first. The story jumps right in by introducing the crew with the effort that would make a minimalist jealous. We get names that are generic and quickly forgotten. We get job descriptions for each member that become unnecessary as soon as they leave the table they’re sitting around. The depths we get to with any of the characters wouldn’t drown an ant.
We’re lead to believe this crew is tight-knight, but the thread unravels ridiculously fast and easy once you-know-what hits the fan. For all the secondary plans Frank has (a second getaway vehicle with a second safe house), no one bothered to organize a place to go to should their plan goes sixes and sevens. Instead, everyone crawls to their own, easy-to-find holes and the ensuing showdowns are lackluster. Even the traitor reveal and the final confrontation between Frank and Rex were extremely unenthusiastic.
It’s difficult to find a redeeming quality in 10 Minutes Gone. Willis acted his part as if he showed up on the wrong set and said “screw it” while someone fed him lines. Poke fun at Armageddon all you want, but at least there was some semblance of varying emotion in that film. Chiklis tries a little harder, but only a little. This is a far cry from his gritty award-winning role on The Shield. During one lengthy firefight, Frank hides behind a pillar and points his gun around the corner, blindly shooting. To make things worse, every overly used heist cliche finds its way into the script, delivered with monotony only rivaled by Ben Stein.
10 Minutes Gone isn’t worth ten minutes of your time if other than to see two good actors be not good actors. Director Brian A. Miller has etched out a career with similar films that spend little to no time in theaters, instead finding a home in the VOD market where it can reside in movie purgatory. This movie is no different.