Starring Stephen Dorff and Natasha Henstridge
2 1/2 stars
You haven't heard of Steal; the only ad I've seen is a banner hanging in the City Centre Cineplex Odeon. In fact, it has the unusual distinction of being so under the radar it doesn't even have a listing in the Internet Movie Database (though it does appear under the name "Riders", with the tagline, "Extrem hart - extrem schnell - extrem gefaehrlich!").
Sounds German, but it fact it's Canadian, or at least it looks Canadian. That is, it's a relatively small thriller shot in Canada with a couple of minor Hollywood stars and a guy you can tell is a Canadian actor just by looking at him.
Basically, the premise is X-treme Stealing: a quartet of young, good-looking thieves (3 guys, 1 girl) pull off bank heists and then escape on rollerblades or by parasailing off a bridge. As is inevitable in this kind of movie, our slick heroes run afoul of crooked cops and sleazy crooks, and so they have to X-treme their way out of it.
Steal isn't too smart, and to be perfectly honest, it's a little too too-kool-for-skool with its rollerblading and rockclimbing and parachuting. Visually, it comes off like one of those X-treme Mountain Dew snowboarding trailers, except without the snowboarding.
To its credit, though, Steal isn't trying too hard, and its grasp is pretty slickly aligned with its reach. The movie is short --83 minutes-- and it doesn't really waste too much time with crap it's not going to succeed at, stuff like characterization and drama. But it does have the schnell, and the gefaehrlich, and it does serve up some pretty good speedy chases. Nothing too fancy, of course, no real budget-breaking hair-on-end stuff, but Steal did show me some cars and 18-wheelers doing things I'd never seen before.
Of the two recognizable Hollywood stars, Natasha Henstridge is most recognizable and the worst, playing a cop chasing and humping the thieving hero. Her character is sort of dumb in the first place, and there's just something bland and blocky about her; she doesn't crackle. She does get naked but, ripoffingly, she doesn't quite show anything. Far better is Stephen Dorff, who among other things got turned into a giant blood-bubble at the end of the first Blade movie. As lead thief Slim, Dorff has just enough pretty-boy evil to make you put up with the fact that you're watching a movie about roller-blading thieves.
There's some amusement to be had mong the scattered other roles as well. Bruce Payne (last not seen as bad guy Damodar in Dungeons and Dragons) plays the corrupt police lieutenant whose lip is stuck on auto-curl, and Statford actor Tom McCamus (the guy who looked instantly Canadian) plays a jerk evil-guy henchman who dies in a hilarious way I sure wasn't expecting.
More of a video rental --in fact, it's kind of shocking it's appearing
in theatres at all-- Steal would be a good pick if you wouldn't mind some
silly stunt action, and X-Men 2 hasn't come out yet.