Lift Parent Guide
Cleverly set up, this intricate heist film veers off course into a less coherent action flick in the final act.
Parent Movie Review
Cyrus (Kevin Hart) and his team are some of the best thieves on the planet, stealing art from wealthy people they deem undeserving. Unluckily for them, they’ve caught the attention of Interpol, which offers the team immunity for their crimes on one condition: they need to steal half a billion dollars of gold off a plane before it gets into the hands of a shadowy group bent on destruction in the name of profit.
Our lovely editor here at Parent Previews knows that heist flicks are my thing, so she’s taken to assigning them to me, much to my delight. Lift has all the makings of a stellar heist: an international cast, a fun premise, and high stakes. It also has the added bonus of high production values, with fantastic cinematography and direction. Unfortunately, all those good components don’t quite add up to a home run thanks to a weak script. The characters are severely underdeveloped, a serious deficit in a genre where much of the fun comes from uncovering characters’ backstories and watching the interactions between them. The story also starts to fall apart in the third act, as the film takes a turn from caper to action, thereby muddling what could have been a clear story.
In a strange decision by director F. Gary Gray, Kevin Hart plays an uncharacteristically reserved and un-funny character, which seems like a waste of his talents. He’s not bad in any way; the script just doesn’t give him anything to do except magically provide solutions to every problem. The rest of the cast give great performances as well, but again the script doesn’t give them much to do. Half of the heist doesn’t even involve most of the team, which takes away a lot of the fun.
That said, I think the first half or so of Lift is fantastic. It’s fun and has some great hijinks. The heist plan is suitably complicated and original and promises a great time. That first hour is worth the runtime; it’s just a weak third act that really brings the entire production down. Leaning into the action potential of a heist is not a bad idea if it’s done well but this script just missed the mark.
The final act’s focus on action pushes the movie’s level of violence higher than expected for this genre, making it unsuitable for younger audiences. It’s also worth noting the high volume of profanity, with approximately three dozen curse words. For fans of heist films, like myself, Lift could be worth your time, if only for the first hour when it really shines. But otherwise I think the real crime in this movie is the theft of the much better story it could have been.Directed by F. Gary Gray. Starring Kevin Hart, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sam Worthington. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release January 12, 2024. Updated January 12, 2024
Watch the trailer for Lift
Rating & Content Info
Why is Lift rated PG-13? Lift is rated PG-13 by the MPAA for violence and action, suggestive material and some language.
Violence: Characters fight each other hand to hand and with guns. A man is shown hanging upside down and implied to be tortured. A character is shot and killed off screen.
Sexual Content: Characters simulate sex noises in a bathroom as a cover. An adult couple kiss. A vibrator is briefly seen in a comedic context but not used.
Profanity: The script contains around 30 mild and moderate expletives and five terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults drink alcohol socially in some scenes.
Page last updated January 12, 2024
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The most popular heist movie franchise begins with Ocean’s Eleven, in which a group of professional thieves hatch an elaborate plan to rob the underground vault of a casino owner. Sequels include Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, and the all-female Ocean’s Eight.
Heist movies turn magical – literally in Now You See Me. This flick stars a group of four magicians who pull off seemingly impossible thefts, apparently by magic. The sequel, Now You See Me 2, has the magicians held captive and forced to commit a spectacularly difficult theft.
Standalone film The Vault, sees a crew breaking into an impenetrable bank vault as part of their pursuit of Sir Francis Drake’s pirate gold.
In Red Notice, two art thieves and an FBI agent try to outsmart each other in a quest for ancient golden eggs that belonged to Cleopatra. Hijinks and action ensue.
Closely related to the heist genre is the con genre, and the best of the lot is The Sting, which stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman as two con artists out to sting the crime boss who had their friend killed. Robert Redford also stars as an aging bank robber in The Old Man & the Gun.