When a review includes the word “dismal” in the headline it’s rarely a good sign, and that’s exactly what Polygon’s review of the Netflix heist movie Lift begins with. Rather than soar like an eagle, the movie “sinks like a stone”. The trailer suggested that the Kevin Hart actioner could be Ocean’s Eleven in an airplane, but many critics seem to believe that it struggles to get off the ground.
Empire gave it just two out of five stars, praising Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s superbly athletic skills and the flashy special effects but unimpressed by a lifeless script. IGN says it’s “exceedingly unremarkable”, while The Guardian says it’s a “ho-hum heist flick”.
So what can you watch on the best streaming services if you’re craving some whip-smart, wise-cracking action? I’m glad you asked. Here are three enormously entertaining crime capers you’re going to love watching or rewatching much more.
The Nice Guys
I love this film so much. It’s a brilliant example of the buddy movie done right, an odd-couple caper that’s entertaining from the very first scene to the feel-good conclusion. Ryan Gosling’s job is PI, and he teams up with hard-assed enforcer Russell Crowe to investigate a murder and a missing girl. It’s very funny – as you’d expect from a movie written by Shane Black – but it’s also a superb thriller, a noir that’s as hard-boiled as it is hilarious. Think LA Confidential with laughs.
The Nice GuysAvailable to stream on Netflix in the US and Australia, and MGM in the UK.
For many reviewers, this is Quentin Tarantino’s most entertaining movie. Famed and sadly missed movie critic Roger Ebert has said that it’s the director’s “masterpiece”, featuring a wonderful performance by 70s screen goddess Pam Grier as well as unusual roles for Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda. It’s an absolute blast, and it’s tightly written and very smart. As Ebert put it: “Tarantino leaves the hardest questions for last, hides his moves, conceals his strategies in plain view, and gives his characters dialogue that is alive, authentic and spontaneous… I wanted these characters to live, talk, deceive and scheme for hours and hours.”
Available to stream on Netflix in the US, Freevee in the UK and Stan in Australia.
The Blues Brothers
Even if you don’t know the story, you know the look: black suits, pork pie hats and dark sunglasses. It’s ridiculously over the top, often very silly and the plot doesn’t really stand up to much scrutiny, but a career-best John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd make it a hoot from start to finish. It’s one of the great American comedies, arguably the best Saturday Night Live movie too, and while it’s showing its age a little bit you’ll forgive it pretty much anything for its superb soundtrack. Hit it!
Available to stream on Netflix in the US and Paramount Plus in Australia.