The Heist movie genre is filled with a number of great films, and usually a solid premise. Enacting a plan and following through – regardless of the unforseen complications – is inherently gripping, whether it’s perpetrated by heroes or anti-heroes. But Ben Stiller, Matthew Broderick, Michael Pena, Casey Affleck, Gabourey Sidibe and Eddie Murphy in the Tower Heist looks like heroes, and Alan Alda looks a fairly repellent bad guy with a big safe. Well, the real bad guy may be director Brett Ratner if he blows a great cast and what appears to be the best material he’s worked with. Take a look at the trailer…

It’s nice to see Eddie Murphy at least awake in a film, though this sort of role is the thing that made him famous thirty years ago. Yeah, thirty years ago, and him doing a variation on his character from 48 hrs is both a return to form, and a little dangerous if he’s not as good at it as he once was. He seems to be in high energy mode, which is good, though if the schtick is tired, it’s tired. But the premise is there, rich banker screws up his underlings pensions, and they get revenge. Great start. And great cast.

The question is Brett Ratner, who’s very hit and miss as a filmmaker. He made his name on the Rush Hour franchise, but his other films have shown someone who’s good at mimicking other work, but generally are less than the sum of their parts (X-Men 3, Red Dragon). When the third Rush Hour underperformed, Ratner’s been perilously close to director jail. But this is a high-concept actor-friendly piece, and as long as there’s a good script, it could be great. The film opens November 4.

Do you like Brett Ratner?