Movie Reviews: The Italian Job




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     Paramount (1hr. 45min.)
     A band of thieves, plan to steal millions of dollars worth of gold bars that was stolen from them.
     Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Clarize Theron, Mos Def, Seth Green, Jason Statharn, Franky G and Donald Sutherland
Bottom Line:


Never boring, "The Italian Job" starts you at the edge of your seat and ends with nail-biting tension and a comedic car chase through and under the streets of LA. And even though most filmgoers will easily figure out its wild ending, the film is so well done and entertaining, all predictablity is forgiven and you’re glad to go along for the ride.

This very cunning film has all the usual Hollywood entrapments of its genre:

* The last big job.

* A gang of odd ball thieves, each with his or her special technical abilities.

* A cleverly planned gunless robbery.

* Ex-lovers who can’t stand each other, are forced to work together, and somehow during the heist they fall in love again.

* Some detail goes awry making the heist a last-second potential disaster.

* A hero with an ace-in-the-hole who saves the day.

The real strength of "The Italian Job" relies on being clever, rather than being plausible. The foundation of the story is its quirky characters: a safe cracker (Clarize Theron), explosive expert ( Mos Def), computer hacker (Seth Green), getaway driver (Jason Statharn) and a planner (Mark Wahlberg).

A remake of the 1969 film that starred Noel Coward, Michael Caine and Benny Hill, the 2003 version pays more homage to the MTVish "Ocean’s 11" and more recently "Confidence," two great heist movies. But "The Italian Job" is a much better film because of its cleverness and ability to keep the audience engaged for two hours.

The crux of the film involves the largest traffic jam in L.A. history. Charlie Croker (Wahlberg) and his crew led by Donald Sutherland have to figure out away to rob an armored car filled with gold from Croker's double-crossing ex-partner (Edward Norton) while it’s stuck in traffic.

Croker and his crew originally stole the gold in Venice, through an elaborate high-tech scheme that dropped the heavily guarded safe through a building’s floor and into a waiting speed boat. Later as the gang made plans to share the loot, Norton double-crossed the gang and hijacked the gold. After a furious gun battle, Norton leaves Croker and the others for dead. Coker and the gang regroup, and a year later plan the perfect heist to recover their gold and administer a little payback.



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