The Big Heist (2001) starring Donald Sutherland, John Heard, Jamie Harris, Nick Sandow, Joe Pingue, Bo Rucker, Rocco Sisto directed by Robert Markowitz Movie Review

The Big Heist (2001)   2/52/52/52/52/5

Donald Sutherland in The Big Heist (2001)


You remember in "Goodfellas" when Henry, Jimmy and Tommy pull off that robbery at JFK airport, that was the Lufthansa heist. Well the Lufthansa heist is what "The Big Heist" is about, it is about Jimmy and the gang pulling off this record robbery and by gang I do mean Henry, Tommy and other names which you will have heard in "Goodfellas". And I've mentioned "Goodfellas" now for the third time because unfortunately if you have watched Scorsese's popular movie watching "The Big Heist" will be a painful experience as it is an inferior TV movie which whilst going into a touch more detail in the end offers up little to make it worth its while.

After doing 6 years inside Jimmy Burke (Donald Sutherland - The Art of War) is out and quickly learns that in his absence his son Frankie has not been making collections or payments. In need to sort things out and a need to make money quickly Jimmy a long with his crew; Henry (Nick Sandow), Tommy (Rocco Sisto), Stax (Bo Rucker) and so on decide to pull off a record heist by robbing the lock up at JFK airport. But the robbery whilst seeming to go well is not without its problems especially with det. Richard Woods (John Heard) on his tail.

John Heard in The Big Heist (2001)

So in fairness whilst the Lufthansa heist was only part of "Goodfellas" it is the whole story of "The Big Heist" and as such there is more detail in this movie. We learn about Jimmy's son Frankie and also learn of various issues including the police and FBI as well as the "family" having problems. Is it interesting, well sort of because the extra detail fleshes things out nicely to make it fill the entire movie.

But the problem that "The Big Heist" has is "Goodfellas" as not only is the production of a generally inferior quality but you constantly end up comparing it. That means you constantly watch Donald Sutherland as Jimmy Burke and think he is no Robert De Niro and yes Jimmy Burke is the same character as Jimmy Conway. It is worse when it comes to Rocco Sisto as Tommy because not only is he no where near as good as Joe Pesci but the character in "The Big Heist" is corny. And it is the same with Nick Sandow as Henry Hill as he doesn't have the charisma of Ray Liotta's Henry Hill.

In truth despite featuring Donald Sutherland and John Heard "The Big Heist" was always going to struggle because of "Goodfellas" and the only time it works is when we watch characters not in Scorsese's movie. So Jamie Harris is interesting as Frankie Burke as is John Heard as det. Richard Woods but these are just minor characters in a movie which constantly struggles.

What this all boils down to is that if you haven't watched "Goodfellas" yet then by all means watch "The Big Heist" as you might enjoy it for its look at the Lufthansa heist. But if you have watched "Goodfellas" it is probably best to skip this because it only ends up a poor imitation.