Brief stylistic choices in the comical caper Bandit reminded me of 2013’s Pain & Gain. And while I shuddered remembering how nasty Michael Bay’s true-crime comedy was, those feelings were soon followed by a sigh of relief as Bandit’s charm washed over me.

Pulling from another “stranger than fiction” true-crime story, Josh Duhamel (Safe Haven, Spaceman) plays Gilbert Galvan Jr., better known as “Robert Whiteman” to those who he had fooled.  After escaping from prison and creating a new life for himself in Canada, Galvan Jr. finds himself pulled back into the world of crime after he discovers a newfound knack for being a master of disguise and robbing banks cross- country;  earning him the title of The Flying Bandit and the attention of aggravated detective Syndes (Dead Drop’s Nestor Carbonell).

Bandit is efficient, entertaining, and leaves a lasting impression because it’s working in a lighthearted register and the movie’s not afraid to be goofy.  Duhamel is hilarious as the film’s anchor, essentially doing a spot-on Vince Vaughn impression to match his crook’s snappy “slickster” attitude.  While that acting choice may sound derivative, it works for Duhamel because he’s able to stick his delivery and react accordingly to situations that require charisma or quick-witted thinking skills.

Director/co-writer Allan Ungar’s previous film, Gridlocked, was mind-numbing junk food for the brain.  WIth Bandit, the filmmaker shows growth in character development, cast chemistry, and conveying a cool and amusingly sly style.  Ungar is still working out some pacing issues, which could be resolved with a condensed runtime (both movies are around two hours), but I’m anticipating the Canadian’s next flick.


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