John Travolta stars in uninspired Crypto Caper

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If you’ve been wondering when a heist movie would combine traditional bank robberies with today’s fixation on cryptocurrency, “Cash Out” is here to answer that question. And yet little about this John Travolta vehicle feels new or even current, as the would-be thriller directed by Ives traffics exclusively in well-worn tropes that have become de rigueur for the genre. It is, as you might imagine, the story of one last job before our protagonist can finally hang it up for good – which is also how you might imagine the role itself might have been pitched to Travolta.

The actor, who at this point resembles a slugger from the past who is dragging down his career batting average, brings a familiar name to “Cash Out,” but none of the vibrancy we’ve seen from him in the past. He stars as Mason Goddard, who we meet when he and his femme fatale inamorata Amelia Decker (Kristin Davis) arrive at a fancy gathering on their private jet as a pretext for stealing a few million dollars worth of cars. While clearly intended to convey a sense of luxury, the low production values ​​make both the characters and the film feel ersatz from the start. It seems like a simple job nonetheless, especially with the support of Mason’s experienced team, but it all goes into overdrive once Amelia pulls a gun on him and reveals that her true allegiance has always been to the FBI. He never saw the double-cross coming, probably because he’s never seen the opening scene of a caper before.

He and his team evade capture via Plan B, which involves little more than driving into the water in plain sight of their pursuers and relying on the police to immediately abandon their search, which for some reason they do. Heartbreak compounded by failure leads to retirement for our world-weary crew leader, but of course that doesn’t last long; younger brother Shawn (Lukas Haas), who has a bit of a Fredo vibe, needs him for that factual last job. Just when he thought he was gone…

Every line of dialogue that follows from this tired premise is like an echo of dialogue from a better film. You can bet you’ll hear one of Mason’s underlings say “we’ve got company” when the cops show up, which may inspire you to wonder why not rewatch something like “Heat” instead. A little familiarity can be forgiven if they at least serve inventive set pieces, but the actual bank robbery is as lax as anything else in “Cash Out.”

Because as clear as it is that this would-be robbery is wildly unwise, it’s even clearer that Mason still carries a torch for his ex despite her betrayal – making it inevitable when she ultimately becomes the negotiator sent to find a to close a deal. peaceful resolution to what quickly becomes a hostage situation. Our hero, of course, uses this as an opportunity to ask her if she’s working out, rather than, oh, making demands for the nonviolent release of his prisoners. It’s contrived, yes, but it also leads to the only exchanges that distinguish the film from its myriad genre progenitors.

Mason brings an I-don’t-even-be-here energy to the heist, treating his hostages like unwilling guests rather than forcing them into fearful obedience at the gunpoint. It’s a refreshing change of pace from what we usually see in such scenes, even if it underlines one of the film’s main weaknesses: its lack of urgency. Just as Mason takes on a job he doesn’t want to do, using it as an opportunity to get back at his estranged lover rather than as a way to get rich, the film itself can’t seem to muster the energy to let go. we care a lot about this.

It’s fitting, then, that the safe in question isn’t so much a jackpot as a can of worms; its exact contents, not to mention its owner, immediately sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. The same can be said of “Cash Out” itself, whose risk-reward ratio doesn’t justify pulling out again.

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