Cash Out : Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on April 26, 2024 in / No Comments


Rated R by the MPA for language (and very little violence). Running time: 92 minutes. Released by Saban Films.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Saban Films, Cash OutI can understand putting a movie together to say that you did. God bless you if you’re ever in a position to create a piece of art that you like and you want to give to the world. But “just to say that you did” when you’ve got the likes of John Travolta, Kristin Davis, Lukas Haas, and Noel Gugliemi – one of the best “Hey! It’s that guy!” actors ever – isn’t good enough. Cash Out contains a high-powered cast but squanders their talents with every passing second.

God, you can tell Travolta wants this to be so much more. He carries this movie with his intense presence and piercing eyes, but he’s hamstrung by Dipo Oseni and Doug Richardson’s flatline script, in which he gets to do… well, not much of anything, really. He injects his character, Mason Goddard, with the wary and tired soul of a high-profile thief who’s about to “cash out” (hey!) and exit The Life, were it not for his junior varsity brother Shawn (Lukas Haas) heading up a bank score on his own. The target: a flash drive containing some valuable dirty laundry. When Mason is told whose dirty laundry it is, his reaction is to straight-up walk away, but the possibility of making a lucrative deal out of a crappy plan is just too good for him.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Saban Films, Cash OutYou can almost hear it now: “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in,” right? Oseni and Richardson even drop in the undercover agent-slash-romantic partner for good measure. Amelia Deckard (Kristin Davis) has just revealed her government ties to Mason, and – having let him and his crew slip through her fingers – she’s got another chance to bring them in, setting Shawn up for the fall by leaking intel about the score but never expecting Mason to walk right into the middle of things. The way this plays out in the film feels more like padding than a necessary piece of the puzzle; when Mason asks her, “Was any of it real?”, we don’t have a sense of what “any of it” was, considering their “romance” was glossed over by way of the opening scene, which is couched in lies as well (they’re on a job, natch).

The mononymous Ives drags this one-note story out past all logic, plying us with SO MANY whizzing drone shots (even inside the bank) to try to raise the oomph he wants this movie to have. But there’s nothing that really keeps us watching except for John Travolta. Everything else is smoke and mirrors; even in this little movie, Travolta has a command that magically helps us accept what’s happening. The empty script forces him to carry Cash Out on his back because it doesn’t rely on anything or anyone else. No bonds are forged, no history or flavor is shared between the crew members; they play their roles and are gone just as quickly.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Saban Films, Cash OutOne could make the case that the script is “lean,” but “lean” implies that there’s meat on the bones. For a heist movie, the meat is crucial to the audience’s enjoyment and involvement, and Cash Out has none. What’s there is merely superficial and there-for-being-there’s sake. There’s no depth, no cleverness; if you think this is just a low-budget crime thriller, you’ll even be disappointed with that expectation. The central heist is just as half-baked as the script, and the fact that Mason and his gang look clueless and unprofessional only makes me wonder how the hell they managed to get their spot on the Most Wanted list.

Cash Out is by the numbers bad, no matter how hard John Travolta works to spread his vibes to everyone else. To be fair, he’s still watchable and earns this film some goodwill, but this goodwill is quickly dissipated by abject lapses in logic (the ending is just beyond belief) and a script that goes nowhere. Everyone but Mason and Travolta is expendable, both in the film and as actors (who all, for what it’s worth, try to make everything work); we don’t get enough time with them because the script has deemed them unnecessary. Heist movies need a little more to go on than mere star power, and Cash Out just doesn’t have it.

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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