a critiQal film review The Italian Job (2003)

Plot: Six con men pull off the heist of their lives - 35 million dollars in gold bricks - in Venice, Italy. Everything goes off without a hitch, until they are betrayed by one of their own, who takes the loot, kills one of them, and leaves the rest for dead. A year later, the four surviving members track their betrayer down, anxious to settle the score.

578 words (Est. Reading Time 2m 53s)
  • ...the Mini Cooper chase scene makes this film worth a rental all by itself, but it's the cast that will keep viewers entertained throughout.

When I first saw the previews for The Italian Job, it looked pretty interesting, especially the Mini Cooper chase scenes (think The Bourne Identity (2002) on a much bigger scale).

I ended up not seeing it in the theaters after hearing a rumor about Edward Norton’s incredible displeasure with The Italian Job (he supposedly wanted out of his contract, and they tried to appease him with a Mini Cooper, which he sent back). I mean, if even the stars of the film think it sucks, why waste my seven bucks?

When it came out on video, I had a couple of free movie rentals too use up, so I said what the heck, and rented it. Was it really all that bad, or were the rumors (or Edward Norton’s ego), overblown?

The Italian Job definitely isn’t lacking in star power. With Edward Norton, fresh off his successes in recent years (The Score, Primal Fear, etc.) leading the way, and Mark Wahlberg (still riding his career high from Boogie Nights), Donald Sutherland (what hasn’t he done over the years?), Charlize Theron, Seth Green (who “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (TV) fans will remember as Oz) and Jason Statham (who seems to go from good films – Snatch – to clunkers – The Transporter (2002) – without his career suffering) backing him up, this film has enough star power for two.

Luckily, for us viewers, all of the actors performed well in their roles, and definitely helped bring this action film into a more plot driven film then most of the action movies these days. The Italian Job doesn’t show Norton’s best work, but he does manage to keep up with the rest of the cast pretty easily anyway.

The Italian Job takes an old idea – revenge – and tries to bring a fresh spin to it. Although the character’s do spout some cheesy lines occasionally, the films fast pace and it’s easily likeable character’s help keep the viewer involved anyway. As the film progresses, and the payback heist gets closer and closer, the viewer will stay tuned even if they aren’t too impressed with the film, just to see how (and if) they’re going to pull it off. It’s a nice built in “hook” in the film, and almost guarantees the viewer will stick thru ‘til the end.

The special effects in The Italian Job mainly revolved around two things, explosives and the cars. The explosions, of which there weren’t many of, were realistic enough to keep thee suspension of disbelief a movie goes needs during a film. The cars, especially the Mini Coopers, were definitely a highlight of the film. It’s great fun to watch these tiny little cars really put thru their paces.

All in all, The Italian Job turned out to be not so bad after all. I’m not sure if the rumors were un-true, or if maybe Eddie was just having a bad hair day or something, but the film definitely shines over many of the generic action movies that are coming out these days (xXx (2002), The Transporter (2002), etc.). The actors, along with the Mini Coopers, definitely were the backbone of the film, and if it were done without them, it wouldn’t have been nearly as good.

The Italian Job is definitely worth a rental, and it’s a possible buy, even if just to watch the Minis careening around just one more time.

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