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Bus 657 review: a B-grade thriller that goes down easily

Aleesha Matharu | Updated on: 11 February 2017, 6:46 IST

Highway chases are thrilling. Remember Speed? Or the sequence in The Matrix Reloaded?

So even though Bus 657 (Heist in a few countries) is a B-grade thriller, it'll capture your attention thanks to well-executed highway sequences.

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But before I go any further, I must declared that I am biased when it comes to Jeffrey Dean Morgan. He's been eye candy ever since Grey's Anatomy and Supernatural. That's despite his one-toned performances. Thanks to his ongoing role on The Good Wife, the show has become the one I look forward to most each week.

Anywho, Scott Mann (The Tournament), who directed this heist film, managed to snag a pretty star-studded rest of the cast too - Robert De Niro, Kate Bosworth, mixed martial artist Gina Carano and pro wrestler Dave Bautista.

His plot is like a jumble Martin Scorsese's Casino, Speed and Ocean's Eleven. De Niro's character, "the Pope" doesn't show his empathetic side when one of his casino employees, Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), asks him to loan him $300,000 to save the life of his little daughter. Desperate, Vaughn agrees to join another employee - Cox (Bautista) - in ripping off the casino for several millions.

Very obviously, the heist goes wrong. Vaughn, Cox and two associates make their escape in the that traditional hail of gunfire we saw coming from a distance. They then commandeer a local bus, terrify the passengers, and order the driver to head for Texas, where they've arranged for a getaway plane awaits that'll fly them across the border Mexico.

In the bus, Cox throws random tantrums. But Vaughn, on the other hand, slowly wins over the passengers. He's a war hero and all, and reacts to situations in a far more gentle manner than padre. Meanwhile, there's a SWAT team led by corrupt cop Marconi (Mark-Paul Gosselaar, in the movie's worst performance). There's also Pope's private hitman, Dog (House of Cards' Morris Chestnut) to contend with.

A still from the film

A police officer named Kris (Gina Carano), is also part of the whole mix. By the end, you can see that her dedication to her job is more than just quite minimal.

But the pace itself never really lags and when things do slow down, it's so that De Niro can provide some depth (much-needed) to his character.

And whether or not you'll buy the ridiculous dialogue and plot contrivances depends on your willingness to suspend disbelief. Especially when it comes to details such as a hospital being willing to accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash minutes before an operation.

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Jeffrey Dean Morgan is, of course, the glue that holds the entire movie together. He plays the role of Vaughan pretty well - with some swagger, humour and toughness.

The verdict

You probably haven't had this much fun with a modern B- grade movie in a while.

And Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Need I say more?

RATING: 3 out of 5

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First published: 18 March 2016, 7:22 IST
Aleesha Matharu @almatharu

Born in Bihar, raised in Delhi and schooled in Dehradun, Aleesha writes on a range of subjects and worked at The Indian Express before joining Catch as a sub-editor. When not at work you can find her glued to the TV, trying to clear a backlog of shows, or reading her Kindle. Raised on a diet of rock 'n' roll, she's hit occasionally by wanderlust. After an eight-year stint at Welham Girls' School, Delhi University turned out to be an exercise in youthful rebellion before she finally trudged her way to J-school and got the best all-round student award. Now she takes each day as it comes, but isn't an eternal optimist.