|Dir:||F. Gary Gray|
|Star:||Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def|
|Cert / Year:||12 - PG13 / 2003|
Charlie Croker and his crew pull off a brilliant bullion heist only for one of their number, Steve, to double cross them and take the loot killing Charlie's mentor John Bridger in the process. A year later Charlie tracks down Steve and the crew reassembles with the addition of John Bridger's daughter Stella to get revenge and steal the gold back. The only problem is how do they get the loot across Los Angeles in the rush hour, you can bet the answer has something to do with a traffic jam and Minis.
There are three ways to remake a film. Make it the same as or along similar lines to the original, for example Psycho or The Time Machine. Turn it into a spoof e.g. The Brady Bunch or Starsky and Hutch, or make a completely different film a slap the originals name on the front as seen here and in Get Carter. It just smacks of contempt that a film studio uses the names of classic films in such a way, but there you have it. This movie is an obvious attempt to cash in on the success of the remake of Ocean's 11. Ok so it contains a car chase with Minis (fat BMW Minis that is) but apart from that it is closer in style and content to Sneakers or Ocean's 11 than the original. You might even go as far as saying that the naming of the film is just a cynical marketing ploy. So lets forget any comparison to that British bank job classic, as it would be pointless. Let's instead see if this new film can make the grade.
Well things do not start well when your ears are filled with one of the worst opening themes in movie history. The action if not the dialogue that follows is better during the initial heist, but things come to a shuddering halt when for some reason the crew end up on a mountain top. It is at this point you begin to wish that someone would kill Donald Sutherland's character as he continually blathers on as if he was in one of those pointless Barclays adverts. Luckily someone does, and the whole film really begins.
After the false start things begin to pick up when the crew are reassembled in Los Angles. It's not a perfect mix as Mark Wahlberg appears well out of his depth as Charlie, and Charlize Thereon is soppier than a Hugh Grant film. Fortunately the supporting cast is excellent. Jason Statham seems to be in Transporter mode as he charms, bullies, and wise cracks his way through each scene. Seth Green is on fine comic form as the loser computer geek, a character that is more reminiscent of Mother from Sneakers than the original's Benny Hill. Lastly Mos Def is the obligatory black rap star. Actually that is really unfair as he is rather convincing as the bomb mad demolitions expert, certainly an improvement over Don Cheadle and his awful cockney accent in Ocean's 11.
The story is the standard plan the heist, do the heist affair. Where it works really well in the planning stages is with the inclusion of plenty of humor, Napster's commentary of Handsome Robs seduction of the TV repair girl being particularly hilarious. Eventually the pieces fall into place only for a nice plot twist that ensures that things don't quite go to plan and that the heist is far more exciting than it was shaping up to be. The heist itself is of course the high point of the film and in terms of fantastic action it does not disappoint. Some good stunt driving and some amazing helicopter piloting make for one wildly exciting ride. It is superb stuff but unfortunately it doesn't seem to last long enough and the chase is over all too soon. Which just leaves the rather uninspiring ending.
This Italian Job is a good heist movie. Packed with superb action, some great humor, and strong supporting performances you will not be left disappointed. That is unless you were expecting anything like the original movie. I mean I could call myself Florence Nightingale but that does not make me carry a lamp, just as calling this The Italian Job doesn't make it anything to do with the original. That doesn't make this a bad film in fact far from it. It is an action packed very enjoyable experience. However while undoubtedly this film has it's moments it is showing you nothing you haven't seen before done better in the various films mentioned earlier in this review, and more importantly in a race for the crown of best car chase heist movie this would be beaten by the original every time.
Get in. Get out. Get even.
|2.35:1 Anamorphic||Its a looker.|
|Dolby Digital 5.1||Sounds good too.|
|Making of The Italian Job featurette|
|Putting the words on the page for The Italian Job|
|The Italian Job Driving School|
|The Fat German Minis of The Italian Job|
|High Octane stunts|
|6 deleted scenes|
|Good disc. Fine transfer and a fine selection of extras.|