Lift Movie Review: Kevin Hart Heist Film Drowns in Exposition

Review: Lift is another example of the Netflix’s inability to create lasting movies. Once the credits hit, Lift leaves your conscious. There are a few action sequences, and lively performances, that help it move towards a soft landing.

lift review kevin hart netflix film
Kevin Hart in Lift (2024)

Kevin Hart gives a relatively subdued performance in Lift – a movie so close to being fun and admirable but doesn’t deliver enough of its best aspects to justify its own existence. There’s an enticing popcorn flick in here somewhere, but its weighed down by too much exposition and a surprisingly dull central character.

And Hart has had a string of movies with Lift and Fatherhood (among others) lately where he’s clearly trying to downplay his own comedic side and underplaying his own characters. It’s hard not to see right through his performance as some sort of attempt to reframe his own image and convince moviegoers that there’s a dramatic side to his repertoire worth exploring.

But Lift is incidentally dying for a lively performance from Kevin Hart. A few jokes sprinkled in could’ve saved the first half of this film, which drowns in its own version of the Ocean’s Eleven “getting the team together” trope that falls comically short. Skip through the first 30 minutes and you get a rather entertaining action heist, straight to streaming effort from a crew capable of shooting action sequences and developing set pieces.

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Hart plays the leader of an international heist crew tasked with lifting $500 million in gold from an extravagant passenger plane while it’s in the air. An effective synopsis and equally satisfying fight sequences are among the movie’s best moments, and it surpasses some of the worst offerings from Netflix in this vein (Red Notice, Kate), but Lift is another example of the streaming service’s inability to create lasting pictures. Once the credits hit, Lift leaves your conscious.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw ultimately holds the emotional weight of the film as Hart’s estranged love interest Abby, whose conflict of interest has the best push-and-pull narrative thread throughout the entire movie. It also serves to provide the best catharsis for Lift in its final moments. Again, another piece of a film that works well despite the handful of flaws throughout.

The rest of the cast, from Billy Magnussen to Vincent D’Onofrio, are surprisingly fun and effective too. It’s not nearly as entertaining as 6 Underground (the best of these middling Netflix action films), but it rises slightly above the general batting average for this genre on this streaming service. So maybe I’m grading Lift on a curve, but given everything working against it, I walk away with a few highlights. It helps that I’m usually in the bag for Kevin Hart movies. If only he was better in it, it may have had some more staying power.


Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime

Watch Lift on Netflix

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Lift Cast and Credits

lift movie 2024


Kevin Hart as Cyrus Whitaker

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Abby Gladwell

Sam Worthington as Dennis Huxley

Vincent D’Onofrio as Denton

Billy Magnussen as Magnus


Director: F. Gary Gary

Writer: Daniel Kunka

Cinematography: Bernhard Jasper

Editor: William Yeh

Composers: Guillaume RousselDominic Lewis

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