Heist flicks have thrilled audiences for over half a century for there’s nothing more engaging than seeing cops and crooks battling on the big screen. Just ask Cory Hardrict who stars in “211,” the latest adrenaline drama to hit theaters. “You have two sides fighting each other and with civilians involved, it’s all the makings of a good film. Plus the hostage situation creates a lot of danger and puts you on the edge,” says the actor who plays a cop in the drama, which was inspired by one of the longest and bloodiest events in American police history.
Written and directed by York Shackleton (“Kush”), “211” is loosely based on a real bank robbery that happened in Los Angeles in 1997 referred to as the Battle of North Hollywood where there was a shootout between two heavily armed bank robbers and the Los Angeles Police Department. In the end, the perpetrators were killed, twelve police officers and eight civilians were injured, and numerous vehicles and property destroyed by the nearly 2,000 rounds of ammunition fired by the robbers and police.
The film, which uses the events as a backdrop also stars Nicolas Cage (“Leaving Las Vegas”) and Michael Rainey Jr. (“Power“) and for Hardrict, who has played in action movies “American Sniper” and “Battle Los Angeles,” it was the perfect action vehicle to flex his acting chops.
“I have a knack for falling into doing action movies dealing with shooting a firearm and wearing a uniform,” shares the actor who is married to fellow actress Tia Mowry. “My character Hanson is one of the officers who tackles the criminals and what’s cool about it is that they changed his race to African-American. York [director] had an open mind about adding diversity to the film, which I thought was kinda of cool,” adds the actor who says he heavily researched the lives of cops to get a sense of his character. “Tactical training is vital because you want to make sure you’re representing officers accurately. We have to look and act like real police officers, or the movie won’t resonate as powerfully as it should.”
Not every heist goes off without a hitch and Shackleton’s movie addresses racial elements and bias by also adding Rainey Jr.’s character who plays Kenny, an African-American teenager forced to go on a court-ordered police ride-along as punishment for defending himself against school bullies. Kenny becomes the young civilian passenger who gets caught in the middle of the massive shootout as the film delves into what it’s like to be a law enforcement officer on the streets.
Rated R with a running time of 87 minutes “211” is in theaters.
Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news. Twitter @samanthaofole/Photos courtesy of Momentum Pictures