BANDIT (2022) 15 reviews of crime thriller based on a true story

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Bandit is a 2022 Canadian crime thriller about a charming criminal who assumes a new identity and robs fifty-nine banks and jewellery stores while being hunted by police. Based on a true story.

After escaping a Michigan prison, a charming career criminal assumes a new identity in Canada and goes on to rob a record 59 banks and jewellery stores while being hunted by a police task force. Based on the story of The Flying Bandit.

Directed by Allan Ungar (Gridlocked; Tapped Out) from a screenplay written by Robert Knuckle, based on the novel by Kraig Wenman.

The movie stars Mel Gibson, Elisha Cuthbert, Olivia d’Abo, Josh Duhamel, Nestor Carbonell and Haley Webb.

In 1985, Gilbert Galvan Jr (Josh Duhamel), a charming career criminal, escapes from a Michigan prison and crosses the border into Canada where he assumes the new identity Robert Whiteman.

After falling in love with Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), a caring social worker he can’t provide for, he turns to robbing banks and discovers that he’s exceptionally good at it. Under the guise of a security analyst, Robert begins flying around the country robbing multiple cities in a day, eventually catching the attention of national news outlets that dub him The Flying Bandit.


Addicted to the rush and money that provides his double life, Robert eventually turns to loanshark and reputed gangster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson) for bigger opportunities. But with Robert’s notoriety growing in record time, he is put into the direct sights of a ruthless detective (Nestor Carbonell) who will stop at nothing to bring him down…

Bandit maintains subplots and deepens characterization confidently, depicting Gilbert as a crook growing aware of all he could lose if caught, but financial urges remain, exposing him to Snydes as he aims for more dangerous robberies. The endeavor generates an understanding of motivation, even toxic ideas, but Ungar pushes the film to a two-hour-long run time, which is felt in the last act as the material runs out of things to do…” 3.5/5,

Bandit has fun telling an unbelievably true biopic around Canada’s fastest bank robbers, through Allan Unger’s engaging blend of humour, wit and action with one Josh Duhamel to match it.” 8/10, CG Backlot Magazine

” …it’s a familiar-enough story of determined law enforcement pursuing a brilliant and elusive criminal, but the fun of it is that there’s also some exploration of whether an anti-hero is born bad or if it’s society’s fault. Bandit takes a clear side in this debate at the outset, placing the action against the backdrop of the 1980s and Reaganomics (even though it’s set in Canada, but never mind).” Common Sense Media

“At points in the story, Galvan tries to reform, promises to go straight. Then he drops right back into crime without a second thought. For all their own faults, movies like The Old Man and the Gun or The Grey Fox at least tried to examine the remorse their career criminals felt. Bandit bounces along from one robbery to another, from one stake-out to the next, from betrayals to double crosses with the same sunny indifference.” Film Legacy

“Generally, Ungar does a nice job recreating the 1980s milieu, but his attempts at ironic commentary on Reaganism fall distractingly flat. Still, Robert Knuckle’s adapted true crime screenplay is such an unlikely picaresque yarn, it keeps viewers intrigued by each stranger-than-fiction development […] a moderate recommendation as a low-stress weekend stream (thanks in large measure to Gibson)…” J.B. Spins

“They probably could have shaved twenty minutes or so to give it more of a kinetic pace, but then again, I can’t say it ever really lags […] I had a very good time with Bandit, which is certainly not at all the DTV entry some are dismissing it as. It’s a real movie, with Duhamel good enough in the lead that, were enough people to see it, could change the way he’s thought of as an actor.” 7/10, JoBlo

“As normal for stories like this, things begin to tense up in the final act. It’s one of those cases where you see the ending coming from a mile away, yet Ungar’s crisp direction keeps us engaged. The lone issue is with Galvan/Robert as a character. Yes, he’s charming, witty, and whip-smart. But we never really get to know him.” 3.5/5, Keith and the Movies

“While Bandit might be on the cheaper side, the light tone allows Gibson to dig into his comedic past. Gibson’s performance is a welcome breath of fresh air for the controversial actor. While not reinventing the bank robber subgenre, Bandit is a light-hearted heist flick that doesn’t get bogged down in bloody violence or moral grandstanding.” 3.5/5, Maddwolf

“By the end, Bandit also seems conflicted about how it sees its protagonist, who’s alternately a tragic consequence of circumstance, a simple case study of the end result of crime, and a bit of a joke about how well a couple of simple, goofy ideas can pay. All of this might be the case of a movie that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to say simply because it doesn’t have much to communicate.” 2.5/4, Mark Review Movies

“While the subplots do not land as well as they could have, there is still plenty to enjoy here. Propelled by a great performance by Duhamel, Bandit is an entertaining film worth stealing some time for.” That Shelf

“Cutting some of the extraneous robberies would not only make each one more memorable, tense and funny, but the runtime would’ve benefitted too, making the movie resemble Gilbert Galvan Jr. in the speed he gets in and out without a hitch […] While Bandit isn’t perfect in its execution, it’s a fun ride bolstered by phenomenal acting and a willingness to embrace the absurdity of it all.” 4/5, Voices from the Balcony

“Ungar, who co-edited with Michael Lane, tries to replicate Robert’s energy with mostly snappy pacing, though the movie is about 30 minutes longer than it needs to be. Like Robert, who times everything out to the second, Ungar should have been in and out before we realized what’s hit us. Instead, things slow down when we spend too much time with the side characters.” The Wrap

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