Tuesday 14 February 2023

REVIEW: Bandit (2022) - Starring Josh Duhamel, Mel Gibson and Elisha Cuthbert

Review by Jon Donnis
Bandit is based on the true-life story of Gilbert Galvan Jr (aka The Flying Bandit). Gilbert Galvan Jr escaped from a prison in Michigan in 1984, he then crossed the border into Canada and went on to rob 59 banks and jewellery stores while being chased by a police task force. He still holds a record for the most consecutive robberies in Canadian history.

The film starts off with Gilbert Galvan Jr (Josh Duhamel) robbing a bank, we get a quick look at his methods and before you know it, we get "Four Years Earlier" flash up on the screen and Gilbert Galvan Jr explaining to the camera what he did. Although we get a bit of 4th wall breaking at the start of the film, this doesn't continue throughout, although the film is narrated by the Gilbert Galvan Jr character.

We find Galvan being sent to prison, and then 6 months later he escapes by literally jumping the fence in the minimum-security prison he had been sentenced to. He manages to get to Canada, where he realises quickly he needs to start a whole new life for himself.

He quickly assumes the identity of Robert Whiteman after buying an ID off a homeless man. And before you know it, he falls in love with social worker Andrea Hudson (player by the super talented Elisha Cuthbert). Unable to look after her, he turns to robbing a bank, which he finds out he is very good at. He starts flying around the country, robbing multiple banks in multiple cities each day. A news station labels him The Flying Bandit.

With the takings from a bank robbery not being big enough for him to fund the start to his life, he turns to loan shark and local gangster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson) to help him get bigger opportunities. As his crimes continue, he catches the eye of Detective John Snydes (played by NĂ©stor Carbonell), who makes it his life's mission to catch Galvan.

Based on the 1996 true crime book The Flying Bandit by Robert Knuckle, Bandit is a fun film, that moves along at quite the pace, despite being nearly 2 hours long.

Josh Duhamel is incredibly convincing as Gilbert Galvan Jr/Robert Whiteman, and this is very much his film, especially considering that Mel Gibson takes a back seat, pretty much only appearing in limited scenes from his character's bar. Elisha Cuthbert is excellent as Andrea Hudson, and Nestor Carbonell has nailed down the detective roll these days and does a great job as John Snydes.

Because we know this is based on a true story, it adds an extra element of intrigue to the film, for those who are aware of the real life story or who have read the book, the ending is no surprise, we also get a question and answer scene with the real Gilbert Galvan Jr, as well as a "what happened to..." for the various other characters.

I really liked this film, and think it is perhaps the best film of Josh Duhamel career. A real stand out performance.

The Good
Great pace, really likeable characters, fun set pieces and really well filmed.

The Bad
I perhaps would have liked to have seen Mel Gibson a bit more, especially since he is front and centre on the poster.

I really liked this film, and can't recommend it enough.

I score Bandit 9/10

Out now on Apple TV - https://apple.co/3Nod9As
ALso available on Amazon Prime at https://amzn.to/3YwN7zG