Steve Austin’s trademark “Don’t Trust Anybody” would have been good advice for the thieves trying their luck at obtaining a hidden $80 million fortune in Copper Bill. The heist flick delivers plenty of fun twists and action and a solid performance from a cast that includes Dustin Rhodes.
Director Brett Bentman (90 Feet From Home) brings the “tale of Texas thieves” to the screen and takes a fictionalized look at the legendary (and real-life) Cowboy Mafia’s impact on the North Texas area. All Elite Wrestling star Rhodes continues to build up his acting resume in his first film with Bentman (The two also worked together on Thunderclap!, due out this year) as Dustin plays Mitchell White, one of the thieves attempting to steal an $80 million fortune hidden somewhere on a farm that has ties to the Cowboy Mafia.
Staying in a familiar setting in Texas as he did with his previous film 90 Feet From Home, Bentman creates a story full of suspense and drama and even provides a few moments of dark humor. Jessup Cross (Thom Hallum) tasks Mitchell with helping him find the missing fortune after he’s heard the Mafia leader is dead, and he hid the money somewhere on his sprawling ranch. Jessup’s motivation for the heist stems from running up an enormous gambling debt with The Indian (Arthur RedCloud), a man who not only has a reputation as someone not to cross but who is coming to collect on it. Jessup looks at this job as one last shot to pay it off and get back in good favor but as everyone knows, nothing ever goes as smoothly as they say.
After gaining some help from a fellow retired con (Billy Blair), Mitchell and Jessup break into the home on the ranch and soon learn their job just got more complicated. The Mafia boss’ granddaughter, Lily (Katy Harris) is watching over the property and she gets taken hostage by the pair, thinking she knows where the money is located. As if that’s not enough, Lily is a mute and can’t tell them where it is, so the crooks have to figure out how to get her to help them before The Indian shows up. With a fortune this big, you can’t expect things to stay quiet, and more people show up on the ranch to further complicate the duo’s plans. The film takes its time establishing things and focuses on Jessup’s issues, even showing he’s not all-that-bad (for a crook) but things kick into high gear once the two show up at the ranch.
There are some small elements of a friendlier relationship between Jessup and Mitchell and the two play well off of each other despite each other having their own motive for being at the ranch. Mitchell is no-nonsense and blunt while Jessup still shows some charm and compassion, trying to be the robber that’s still doing the right thing. Rhodes is an imposing figure but brings depth to his role; fans that love his promo work will be pleased to see him doing a lot of talking despite being the ‘muscle’ of the film. Rhodes delivers a performance that is a nice contrast from the morally-conflicted Jessup; his Mitchell has no problem getting physical and makes threats to complete the job at hand while Jessup wants to keep the bloodshed to a minimum. The wrestling veteran has some prior film experience and he seems very comfortable in the role, adding many layers to Mitchell with a soft-spoken yet intense delivery.
Without getting too far into spoiler territory, Copper Bill is full of surprises and viewers are treated to a few other reveals (including the titular character’s whereabouts) along the way. With any film in this genre, double-crosses and bloodshed should be expected but Copper Bill succeeds without it feeling too obvious as to what’s about to happen. The twists keep coming seemingly outta nowhere, but in a good way as it helps to build the suspense and the uncertainty of the success of the heist.
Copper Bill is an enjoyable film with a linear idea that shows all of the things that do go wrong on an “easy job.” Wrestling fans will appreciate Dustin Rhodes’ ability to sell a story with his words and will enjoy seeing him in a new arena. Copper Bill is methodical, gritty and brutal but certainly not a ‘typical’ heist caper, telling a complete story in just over 80 minutes and it keeps you guessing right until very the end.
Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre will host the Copper Bill red carpet premiere on Thursday, January 30, 2020 (event info here), with a VOD release likely later this year. For more information about the film follow them on social media Twitter and Facebook.
Related: Dustin Rhodes On Still Having World Championship Aspirations, Focusing On And Learning To Be A Powerful Actor