This film set itself two very difficult goals. The first - creating a comedy heist movie at all - it succeeds at very well. The characters are neither so competent that they are distant, nor so incompetent that the heist itself is unconvincing; the percieved difficulty of the heist is pitched just right, the characters' failing are understandable and identifable, and it strictly limits the amount of humor that comes from character incompetence. The production quality is also remarkably high, especially for the budget involved. The second challenge is making a character-driven movie featuring YouTubers, who (regardless of acting ability) have the difficulty of their existing fanbases associating them wholly with their "YouTube mood". Ashens himself comes off best, due to his previous acting experience, his fanbase's knowledge of his previous films, and his dry-comedy theme; but as mentioned elsewhere, Dan Hardcastle clearly suffers from trying to play his YouTube persona "Nerd Cubed" in a way his viewers would expect (they even named his character "The Cube"), which leaves his character reacting to a disasterous development like.. well, a YouTuber reacting to an abrupt Game Over on a Let's Play video, rather than a person who is actually in imminent and increasing danger of going to prison for 20 years. The difficulties of the second by no means overcome the success of the first, though, and the film works extremely well as a convincing heist with some genuinely hilarious moments. There are a few down spots, though, in part caused by the film's habit of integrating meta-humour about directorial tropes and film-making at odd moments. This often comes up in the backgrounds or details of the film, sometimes so dramatically that it comes close to being its own CinemaSins reel, but when it gets pushed to the foreground it becomes more awkward. The scene where the villain has to pursue Ashens while both are moving extremely slowly through motion detectors probably sounded hilarious on paper but when actually filmed you realize it's just two people moving really slowly in gaits that don't make sense; it looks like a good chunk of that scene was edited out, for good reason. By far the cringiest of these points was one which a sign inside the facility is written purely in Greek, entirely so that the (otherwise incompetent) Greek-speaking character accidentally recruited by the team can turn out to be crucial. I suspect this was intended as a parody of this trope in team movies, but with no explanation it comes across as so contrived as to just be a horrible example of that trope rather than a joke about it. As previously stated, though, the highs and the general quality outweight the lows, and while this film will obviously appeal much more to fans of the YouTubers involved, to nerds, and to fans of Ashens' style of humor (whether or not they have heard of the man himself), it's a fun watch for anyone, especially those with prior experience of heist movies.
Ashens and the Polybius Heist
Ashens and the Polybius Heist
A motley crew of misfits hunt down an infamous 80's arcade game that can supposedly control people's minds.
November 27, 2020