Just another bank heist flick

Christopher Meloni (left, with Bruce Willis), known for his role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, plays another cop in Marauders.
Christopher Meloni (left, with Bruce Willis), known for his role in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, plays another cop in Marauders.PHOTO: SHAW ORGANISATION

REVIEW / ACTION CRIME

MARAUDERS (NC16)

107 minutes/Opens tomorrow/2/5 stars

The story: A group of men in kevlar masks carry out bank robberies in which they appear to be targeting specific people to kill. The FBI's (Federal Bureau of Investigation's) Jonathan Montgomery (Christopher Meloni) is on the case along with hotshot Wells (Adrian Grenier). The signs point to a dead soldier - and a cover-up by banker Jeffrey Hubert (Bruce Willis).

After 12 seasons of playing a cop on the long-running television series Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Meloni plays another one in Marauders.

The sense of familiarity deepens with the spectacle of masked men pulling off bank robberies, seen in countless other heist movies.

But, at least, there is something of interest here. The perpetrators use a wireless mini speaker to broadcast their instructions, so there is the surreal scene of a soothing Siri-like voice intoning: "Remain on the floor or we will kill you."

This could well be the most arresting detail of the entire movie.

As in the Hong Kong movie S Storm, which also opens this week, there are clashes over territory between different agencies. In this case, though, there is a lot more macho posturing as Montgomery snarls at officer Mims (Johnathan Schaech) for intruding on FBI jurisdiction.

Mostly, the story is as grim as the setting, a city grey with foreboding and unrelenting rain. There are cops who might or might not be crooked, a soldier who might or might not be dead and a financier who might or might not be guilty of hiding something.

It is hard to care when the entire thing feels like a tired rehash of stock elements. And, no, adding Bruce Willis' smirk and a perfunctory twist at the end does not help matters.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 14, 2016, with the headline 'Just another bank heist flick'. Print Edition | Subscribe