Review by: Jack Foley | Rating:
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Pedal To The Metal: The Making of The
Italian Job; Putting The Words On The Page For The Italian Job;
The Italian Job Driving School; The Mighty Minis of The Italian
Job; High Octane - Stunts of The Italian Job. 6 deleted scenes;
Gag reel - Easter Egg; Theatrical trailer.
FILM fans were justifiably upset when it was announced that Hollywood
would be remaking cult classic, The Italian Job, for fear of a
Get Carter style botch job on one of cinemas enduring favourites.
Yet the ensuing contemporary update is actually a
blast; a slick little joyride of a film that contains plenty of
visual nods to Sir Michael Caines original, while also maintaining
an identity all of its own, thanks to its completely different
The movie kicks off in Venice, as mastermind thief, Charlie Croker
(Mark Wahlberg), pulls off an ingenious gold bullion heist from
a heavily guarded palazzo with the help of his gang - inside man,
Steve (Edward Norton); computer genius, Lyle (Seth Green); wheelman,
Handsome Rob (Jason Statham); explosives expert Left-Ear (Mos
Def), and veteran safecracker, John Bridger (Donald Sutherland).
Yet while the plan is flawless, the job executed perfectly, and
the escape clean, Charlie gets double-crossed by Steve, who kills
Sutherlands father-figure and leaves the crew for dead,
prompting the inevitable countdown to payback, and a repeat of
the Italian job in downtown Los Angeles.
Helping them to achieve this is Charlize Therons professional
safecracker, Stella, who, as Bridgers daughter, has her
own reasons for gaining revenge.
What ensues is an elaborate, slickly-paced crime caper that owes
more in style to the recent Oceans
Eleven remake, than the kitsch value of the original, but
which remains consistently enjoyable throughout.
The more stubborn Italian Job fans may lament the absence of
Michael Caine (even in cameo form), or the lack of a really decent
sound-byte quote (such as you were only supposed to blow
the bloody doors off), but even the most hardened cynic
cant fail to be impressed by the real star of the show,
the MINI, which, once more, shamelessly hogs the limelight.
And whats more, the stunts are real and not computer-generated,
making the climactic chase down Hollywoods Walk of Fame,
through the Metro Rail tunnels and down narrow escape routes all
the more thrilling, while helping the car to reclaim its cool
Director, F Gary Gray, also does an excellent job of maintaining
the interest ahead of the showpiece finale, by keeping things
suitably tense, throwing in the odd twist, and drawing decent
performances from virtually all of his cast.
Wahlberg may lack the Cockney charisma of a young Michael Caine,
but his decision to play it straight actually works, and allows
the support players to ham it up gleefully (with Green taking
the comedy crown), while even Norton - who, allegedly, was contractually
obliged to make the film - uses his apparent distaste for the
project to create a suitably loathsome villain.
The Italian Job surprised many in America by becoming one of
the sleeper hits of the year, and looks likely to repeat the trick
in the UK, largely because of the gleeful abandon with which it
sets about delivering its thrills.
And while it probably wont be remembered as fondly as its
original in years to come, and falls short on achieving the desired
cool of one of Steven Soderbergh crime thrillers,
it remains an effortlessly breezy romp, that makes for a great
night at the cinema. In a Summer packed with overblown disappointments,
it was the MINI things that prevailed.