Italian Job, The (2003) (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner11/08/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 110 mins

Enjoyable caper flick that would make a good double-bill with Ocean’s 11 – it has little to do with the original film but it’s stylishly directed and has an infectious sense of fun.

When the remake of The Italian Job was announced, no-one thought it would be any good, for the following reasons: a) you can’t remake a classic, b) it’s not even set in Italy and c) Mark Wahlberg was in it.

Fortunately, the film-makers have learned the lesson of Ocean’s 11, which is only to remake films that weren’t actually that good in the first place - although die-hard Italian Job lovers should note that the only surviving elements from the original are the Minis and a couple of the names.

In fact, a heist does occur in Italy (which at least excuses the title) although, unfortunately, Mark Wahlberg is still in it and he’s as much of a charisma-free zone here as he was in The Truth About Charlie.

Gold Bullion Robbery In Venice

Wahlberg plays Charlie Croker, the leader of a gang of criminals that includes getaway driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham, surprisingly okay for once, much as it hurts to write those words), techie whiz-kid Lyle (Seth Green), explosives expert Left Ear (Mos Def) and inside man Steve (Ed Norton).

The film opens with the gang pulling off a daring gold bullion robbery in Venice (the titular ‘Italian Job’), under the tutelage of the soon-to-retire mastermind John Bridger (Donald Sutherland, well-cast). However, unbeknownst to Charlie, one of his own gang has double-crossed him and, after a shoot-out, they find themselves without the gold and left for dead.

Months later, the gang regroup and track their double-crosser to L.A. with revenge on their minds. With the aid of Bridger’s beautiful daughter, expert safe-cracker Stella (Charlize Theron), they come up with a plan to steal back their gold from under the nose of the treacherous double-crosser…

Stylishly Directed

The Italian Job is stylishly directed by F. Gary Gray – the chase scenes with the three colour-coded Mini Coopers are particularly exciting and heightened by John Powell’s cool score. The script is pretty good too, allowing for a lot of interplay between the likeable characters (such as Lyle’s insistence on being nick-named ‘The Napster’ because he supposedly invented Napster.com).

Girl Power enthusiasts should also note that Charlize Theron isn’t just reduced to the eye-candy love interest – not only is she a safe-cracker, she’s also one of the three main drivers.

The only real weak spot is Mark Wahlberg. He’s fine when required to be dull and blank (as he was in Boogie Nights) or when paired with a charismatic older character such as George Clooney (Three Kings, The Perfect Storm) but he’s horribly unconvincing as a romantic lead and he almost scuppers The Italian Job.

Luckily, the supporting cast are good enough to pull him through – yes, even Jason Statham. (Look out, too, for a cameo by Mrs Statham – Kelly Brooke - at the end of the movie and a “cameo” by a 1960s Michael Caine, briefly glimpsed on a TV set in Alfie).

In short, The Italian Job is similar to Ocean’s 11 in that it’s flashy, forgettable Friday night fun. Worth seeing.

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Italian Job, The (2003) (12A)
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Content updated: 19/10/2017 04:46

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