Hard Cash wants very much to be a smart movie, with not one but three separate heists that are thought out and executed in complicated style much like the far superior films, Heist and The Score. The problem with Hard Cash is that it can’t resist being campy as well. Hard Cash also wants to be funny. The end result is a movie that does both adequately but neither very well. Val Kilmer looks so uncomfortable in his role, you wonder if his shoes are on too tight. Slater is accually quite convincing, but he can’t get any of the other actors to come along for the ride. One of the true bright elements of the film is the “contingency plan” played by Verne Troyer, best known as Austin Powers’ Mini-Me. There is also a very amusing subplot involving a fellow crook who wants to be a tailor and likes to make “alterations”.
Taylor (Slater) and his clever criminal crew are about to rip off a counterfeiter when the police close in. Taylor takes the heat to allow the rest of his crew to get away. After spending a year in jail, Taylor needs money and sets up another complicated scam to take down an OTB center for $1.9 million which turn out to be marked by the fed. Dirty fed Cornell (Kilmer) steals back the dirty money and kidnaps Taylor’s little girl to force him into taking down a Casino money transfer. Taylor must assemble a crew, but there’s a lot of distrust among the thieves.
The audio is a mixed bag here. There is a clear Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that delivers crisp dialogue and nice moments of screen mayhem, but there are really no ambient sounds to speak of. There are many missed opportunities to liven up the mix that seem to fall on deaf ears.
Hard Cash is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. There is also a pan and scan version provided on the disc. The video transfer is pretty good for the most part. Colors are bright and blacks are very deep and true to life. There is an annoying white artifact that appears from time to time that appears to be a print flaw.
Except for a trailer, there are no special features on this disc. The addition of the unnecessary pan and scan version of these films again makes the inclusion of bonus materials problematic.
I like films with complicated plot elements, and this one often promises to deliver on that point. The problem is that the execution of the final heist isn’t near as cool or good as the middle one. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but the car and boat effects are simply terrible. It looks worse than a 1960’s TV show. The backscreen shooting in these scenes is obvious because it is choppy and doesn’t always stay in the frame. If you like heist movies this one will entertain, but I wouldn’t call it a keeper. This DVD will make a good “contingency plan”.