Josh Duhamel pulls off the heists with the right charms.
“Bandit” is a better movie than its poster would suggest, because it uses such a likable lead like Josh Duhamel, and allows him to adapt to the role of a real-life criminal whose crimes took place in Canada. It’s a crime biopic that loves saying: “This actually happened,” and seems to admire the ingenious crimes of this character.
Set in the mid-80s, Duhamel plays a career criminal named Gilbert Galvan, Jr., who escapes from a minimum security prison in Michigan and crossed the border to Canada with a new name Robert Whiteman. In his new location, he knocks up a young woman named Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), who works at a church-run hostel, and robs a number of banks and jewelry stores in order to get his upcoming family by.
He dodges the authorities, by wearing disguises inspired by an acting class he took. In fact, with all the pedestrians-some of which wear the same clothes as his disguises-he’s able to leave as a ghost. And sometimes, the movie sees the goofy side to his crimes when one of his disguises reminds us of John Oates, or when his prosthetic nose begins to fall off, or when a little piece is left on his real nose.
He’s known in the papers as “The Flying Bandit,” because he flies to various cities in Canada in order to pull off his robberies without drawing much suspicion on his true identity.
His new fiancee finds out about his skills, and the gangster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson) finds out about his skills, and they’re both impressed. She wants him to keep pulling off the crimes until their baby is born, while he wants to make sure the man is legit.
Meanwhile, the feds-particularly Detective John Snydes (Nestor Carbonell)-are even more astonished at how he’s able to get away with the crimes. And this character struggles to bring the Flying Bandit to justice.
Those are the segments that go on a little long, even if the acting is good. They don’t really have the kind of character development that the lead has, but “Bandit” is more interested in the main criminal’s world. It’s more interested in his skills and common sense. Crime doesn’t pay, yes, but it’s the kind of movie that Steven Soderbergh would appreciate.
The last Duhamel movie I’ve seen was “Buddy Games,” which was so bad that I can’t believe he’s making a sequel to it. Unlike that piece of crapola, “Bandit” allows the actor to be as charming as he always was. I’ve met him a little over a decade ago, and he is a charming guy. Here, he plays the character quite right and carries the movie with a nice touch. He almost 50-years-old, but if Brad Pitt can keep his styles, so can Duhamel.
I wasn’t too thrilled with the wife and gangster sides of the story, but I was entertained with how movie presents this thief. “Hell of High Water” it’s not, but fun it is.
In Select Theaters and Streaming on VOD This Friday