Steal (2002) from Tuna

Steal (aka Riders) is an adrenalin rush crime thriller co produced by a French/English/Canadian group.

The plot is nearly a throwaway. Here is a quick summary:

A gang of four friends has decided to try their hand at a new extreme sport - armed robbery - which will make them rich, and provide no end of excitement during the getaways. Three guys and a girl, all in top shape, stage spectacular escapes from high profile robberies by using their athletic abilities at roller blading, stunt driving, base jumping, free diving, and other extreme sports. Three elements complicate the plot.

  • corrupt police lieutenant who is pulling their strings

  • a mobster out to recover $20M in bearer bonds they grabbed in an armored car heist

  • an ambitious police detective willing to do anything to collar them and advance her career. Truth be told, she has more in common with the crooks than with other cops.

The Henstridge thread produces one clumsy scene. It's a pivotal scene wherein Henstridge's character seduces the leader of the gang in a steam room, showing the extremes she would go to to make the career-enhancing arrest. Not only did the director use an obvious body double, but the editing of this scene was a total mess. Henstridge was generally good in the role, but I submit that this nude scene was pivotal to the film and essential to her character arc. If she doesn't want to show her body parts on film, that is certainly her right, but they director should have found an actress who was willing to perform the entire role. Sometimes body doubles can be used subtly. This was not the case here. The framing and cutting, and the bad wig on the double, screamed "bad filmmaking." Further, they could have done a lot dramatically with the scene, showing sex between two young, attractive adrenaline junkies.

From the look of it, nearly all of the $15M budget was spent on stunts, and this has the best action sequences I have seen in a long time. Not only are several of the stunts imaginative, but the entire film is more or less a non-stop chase sequence. Critics all mentioned the excellent stunt/chase material, but many were critical of the plot and character development. I found it to be a delightful bit of non-stop action, and didn't miss the other elements. Call it all pace and no plot, but I was on the edge of my seat the entire running time, and didn't have time to worry about details like plot and character development.



  • No features except the original theatrical trailer
  • the transfer is not anamorphically enhanced, and is not especially vivid



  • The Henstridge double shows hints of breasts and buns.
  • Jennifer Rae Westley, who seems to be finding a niche taking of her clothes, shows breasts in a gratuitous bath scene.

The Critics Vote ...

  • BBC 2/5.

The People Vote ...

  • The film cost $15 million, but it went straight to video in the USA.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is probably a C-, because many will want more plot, but you may enjoy the non-stop action as much as I did, and some of the stunt ideas are masterful.

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