Monday, March 23, 2015

Movie #304: The Italian Job

The Italian Job is a remake of a 70s heist movie. This one stars Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green, Mos Def, and Jason Statham.

Charlie (Wahlberg) leads a team of thieves, having taken over said leadership from John (Sutherland). They're in Venice stealing $35 million in gold, and the plan goes off without a hitch. But, as the team leaves the country with the gold, Steve (Norton) betrays them, murders John, and steals the gold, leaving them all for dead.

A year later, they've tracked him to Los Angeles, living under an assumed name. They recruit John's daughter Stella (Theron) to help them with the heist, and then they heist the shit out of that gold, using Mini Coopers. The end.

No, really, there's not a heck of a lot more to it. It's a heist movie and it's kind of clever in places, but the heisting is all based around car chases and physical theft, so it doesn't have the clever mind games and con artistry of, say, Ocean's 11 (we'll get to O). The action is decent, but it's one of those movies that probably should have been R-rated, but wasn't, so it winds up feeling a little watered down.

The crew is also kind of...half finished. Like, we know enough about them to know about them. We get little character sketches of Lyle the hacker (Green), Left Ear the demolitions expert (Mos Def), Handsome Rob the driver (Statham, who kind of looks uncomfortable with the fact that he's not in charge, as I watch this again). But we never learn a thing about Steve, and that makes him feel flat as a villain. Why wasn't his share of the money enough for him? Why is so he so willing to murder people for the gold? Why doesn't he have any aspirations of his own? It's kind of a clever bit that he bought what everyone else wanted, but...why? I'm sure Norton has like a 20 page bio for the character, and I'd love to see it (Edward, if you're reading, I loved you in Incredible Hulk).

Anyway, it's a fun watch, but it'd have benefited from a little more attention to story.

My grade: C
Rewatch value: Medium-high

Next up: Jacob's Ladder