Written by Donna Powers, Wayne Powers
Running Time: 1:50
as Charlie Croker
I have to admit, I didn't go into The Italian Job with high hopes, but the movie was surprisingly good. A lot of action, very little to slow it down and Mark Wahlberg didn't suck!
A group of thieves have gotten together to pull a job that would net them $35 million in gold. The leader, Charlie, has recruited his long time mentor John in for one last job. Also along for the ride are Handsome Rob, the good looking one, Lyle, the computer wizard, Left Ear, the explosives man and Steve, the, well, I'm not sure what his title was. They manage to get the job done without using a single weapon, but just as they're about to celebrate, Steve pulls the old swerve, kills John (and thinks he kills the rest) and gets off with the gold. A year later the group tracks him down and they recruit John's daughter Stella to help them rip off Steve as payback. A serious game of cat and mouse ensues with the good, bad guys pulling one over on the bad, bad guy.
The previews for The Italian Job don't give much insight into the film. It looks like just another run-of-the-mill caper, and for the most part it is. The difference is, it has almost non-stop action. Not necessarily with car chases and gun fights, but there's always something going on. And the part I liked best was what wasn't there: the typical love story that always gets thrown into the middle of these pictures. Yes, you could tell Stella and Charlie had something for each other, but there was never the 5 minute love scene or random talks about life and love that pop up into the middle of otherwise entertaining films.
Mark Wahlberg has rapidly become, to me, the actor who shouldn't be acting. Before I walked into the film I said he should have stuck with the Funky Bunch and kept rapping. I'm not saying he turning in an Oscar worthy performance, but he kept his dialogue to a minimum and his monotone method of acting worked here because his character was meant to be the calm, rational one. Charlize Theron was more than just the typical 'girl' in an action film; her character was a (legit) safecracker and she played an integral role in the plot. And it doesn't hurt that she's one of the hottest women on screen these days. The rest of the cast fit into their roles rather well. Mos Def, Jason Statham and Seth Green all pulled off their characters pretty easily and seemed like the kind of guys you'd like to hang out with, if you were a thief. Edward Norton was a decent smarmy bastard, but his facial hair kept distracting me throughout. Much like the leather jacket looked bad on Seann William Scott in Bulletproof Monk, the facial hair on Norton didn't do him justice. The other star of the film was the BMW MINI Coopers that were used, first by Charlie, then by the rest of the gang. Those little cars were really cool and could fit into the most amazing places. I'm not a big car person, but apparently the cars have been around for a while, but are starting to come back into fashion, and being in a movie like this can't hurt.
I guess the movie kind of reminded me of The Bourne Identity in that it had a story that had been done before, but the direction and writing made it seem fresh. The plot here was rather straightforward, but the cast kept it interesting and enjoyable throughout.
THE BOTTOM LINE
So overall, I'd recommend The Italian Job if you're looking for a solid action film that doesn't involve a lot of special effects or supernatural powers. Call it a sleeper action film in a summer of special-effects driven explosions.
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