Italian Job. Paramount
Pictures presents a film directed by F. Gary Gray. Written
by Donna Powers and Wayne Powers, based on a film written
by Troy Kennedy Martin. Running time: 105 minutes. Rated
PG-13 (for violence and some language).
Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green,
Jason Statham, Mos Def, Donald Sutherland.
be the first to admit that remaking the 1969 Michael Caine
film The Italian Job is not exactly a great idea, but
the new version is less a remake than an original movie with
the same name. Certainly, the two films share several key
characteristics, but the story has been almost completely
reworked. I'm not sure whether the movie would have worked
if it had just been an updated version of the same movie,
but as it is, The Italian Job is a worthy entry into
the summer field.
the first twenty minutes of the movie actually take place
in Italy, and the events that occur there set the stage for
the rest of the movie. John (Donald Sutherland) is out for
one last job, led by his protégé, Charlie (Mark
Wahlberg). The rest of the crew is made up of Lyle (Seth Green),
the techie who claims to have been the true inventor of Napster;
Hansome Rob (Jason Statham), a womanizer who once drove across
the U.S. just so he could set the record for longest police
chase; Left Ear (Mos Def), the explosives expert who is deaf
in his left ear, hence the name; and Steve (Edward Norton),
who is about to betray the group and take the heisted gold
for himself. Steve kills John and leaves the rest of the group
foward one year. The group, now led by Charlie, is back together,
but unable to move on without getting revenge on Steve. Their
plan is to steal back their gold (or what's left of it), right
out from under Steve's nose. In order to pull it off, they
need an expert safe cracker - for this, they turn to Stella
(Charlize Theron), John's daughter. Stella makes a living
testing safes for major companies, and can crack just about
any safe in a matter of minutes. Together, they set up a plan
to get the gold. They don't want to kill Steve, just see his
face when he realizes his gold is gone.
The Italian Job is a relatively simple heist movie,
it still gets the job done. The director, F. Gary Gray, has
discovered the way to keep a heist movie interesting - keep
the plot moving, and fill it with likeable characters and
sharp dialogue. There aren't any lines that reach the quality
of David Mamet's, but there are plenty of good ones, and much
of the writing has a biting, incisive wit.
Wahlberg is still a stiff actor, but he brings his own understated
charisma to the role of Charlie, and he's actually pretty
good. Charlize Theron has energy to sapre, and she shares
a certain level of chemistry with Wahlberg. Jason Statham
proves that he should be getting Vin Diesel's roles and Vin
Diesel's paychecks. Seth Green and Mos Def provide comic support,
and Edward Norton is deliciously evil.
a more serious movie fan like myself, The Italian Job
is somewhat of a guilty pleasure. I recognize that the story
has a few holes, and the movie's not exactly deep, but it's
still an enjoyable 100 minutes spent in a theater. And what's
wrong with that?
2003 Matt Noller