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Awesome: 12.39%
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7 reviews, 71 user ratings

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Italian Job, The (2003)
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Reasonable if forgettable diversion."
3 stars

'The Italian Job' is a huge cult favorite in England -- the 1969 original starring Michael Caine, that is; the new American remake has been greeted with much harrumphing and tea-spitting across the pond, by British movie fans who describe the very idea as "naff" and "crap" and various other Englishisms. (They still haven't quite gotten over the 'Get Carter' remake.)

The first Italian Job is tough to come by these days (the video is out of print in America), so many of us Yanks will have to come to the remake with virgin eyes, which may be a good thing. Never mind how it holds up to the revered Michael Caine effort; how is it as its own movie?

It's a passable time-waster. On one level I yawned all the way through it, as it's yet another goddamn heist film. Mark Wahlberg is also in it. But it's directed with some grace and snap by F. Gary Gray (of the excellent Set It Off, the lackluster if shrewdly cast The Negotiator, and the failed Vin Diesel entry A Man Apart earlier this year), with dialogue by Donna and Wayne Powers that sounds as if they had some laughs while typing it. It's built for your television on a dead Wednesday.

Edward Norton, phoning it in as the movie's resident turncoat, may have sensed the movie's true calling as network background noise. The press informs us that Norton, who usually brings a hungry curiosity to each role, was contractually obligated to do The Italian Job, and he seems to approach it as just that, a job. Gore Vidal once said that to be interesting, you have to be interested. I have never seen Norton less interested, or less interesting, on the screen. I take a whole paragraph on this only to warn off those who might be drawn to the film solely because Norton is in it. He isn't really in it. His body is, but he isn't.

So we're left with Mark Wahlberg as the leader of a band of high-tech thieves. Wahlberg is the idea man (nobody questions his judgment even though it was his idea to do The Truth About Charlie). Seth Green, who insists that he invented Napster and demands to be nicknamed accordingly, is the computer geek. Mos Def is the nitro man. Jason Statham is the expert driver of the team, called Handsome Rob, a name obviously calculated to win my favor. Finally, Donald Sutherland is the team's grandmaster safecracker and mentor; Sutherland is looking hale and hearty despite his emphysema, though much less so when floating face-down in icy water care of Edward Norton. Sutherland's daughter, Charlize Theron, has adopted his skills but not his morals; a "professional safe and vault technician," she cracks safes legally for a living. She joins former flame Wahlberg in a revenge plot against Norton.

That plot, which concerns stealing the gold that Norton stole from Wahlberg's crew after they stole it from a place in Venice, is less about the gold than about seeing the look on Norton's face when he discovers that his booty is missing, as more than one character puts it. Problem is, we never see that, but we do get an awkward scene of Norton hitting on Theron (disguised as a cable tech) and taking her out to dinner. Norton does have a little fun with this section of the movie, and the director has much more fun with the protracted climactic chase through L.A., involving a helicopter, three trucks, and three tiny, graceful MINI Coopers for which the movie is an unabashed commercial. (An earlier chase through the canals of Venice -- yes, it features a speedboat swamping a gondola -- is far less inspired.)

If The Italian Job succeeds at any level, it's because the characters enjoy what they do, as do most of the actors (not much can be done with Wahlberg, and Norton, let's say, is convincing as a character who's only in it for the money). Seth Green is charming when snarling up L.A. traffic, though his best moment comes during the end credits in a bit involving powerful stereo speakers. Mos Def has some amusing moments, and Jason Statham contributes to a fine bit in which he hollers at a recalcitrant driver in traffic, a wannabe actor running lines of dialogue in his car, who responds to Statham's entreaty by adapting his rough British snarl to the dialogue. And there's a charmingly showoffy camera crane movement that tilts up from the Venice canals, pans right, and tilts down again among the Austrian mountains.

The movie is fast, if not quite furious. The Brits might not like it, but your left ear might enjoy it when it's on TV some night and you have it on while doing something else.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=7720&reviewer=416
originally posted: 02/01/07 21:07:31
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User Comments

3/24/18 morris campbell not bad but nothing special 4 stars
2/19/11 Ark Good stuff! 4 stars
3/29/10 Monday Morning They should have used Town Cars, not Mini-Coopers. 2 stars
2/17/08 Pamela White great plot and mini cooper heaven 5 stars
3/19/07 Stanley Thai A solid thriller. 3 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday I've seen it a few times, and I enjoy it, but I can never remember it. 3 stars
1/05/07 Watch This Movie. Entertaining even after you watch it a few times. 4 stars
9/27/06 Indrid Cold An amiable but forgettable Ocean's Eleven-style heist movie. 3 stars
3/29/06 Stephanie Francis i loving it because it my favorite miovie ever 5 stars
3/27/06 Brian Meyer If you can't write a good "HEIST" movie... remake a classic. OR NOT!!! 3 stars
1/18/06 R.W.Welch Less inspired than the original but generally entertaining. 4 stars
1/14/06 tatum Slightly better than the original 4 stars
1/02/06 Anthony Feor The ride at Canada's Wonderland was better 3 stars
12/05/05 J.D. Pittman III It was slick. Their driving skills were almost equal to mine. 4 stars
11/26/05 Quigley better than ocean's eleven by a long shot. well acted, funny, and really cool. 5 stars
8/24/05 tony Awsome.No question about it! 5 stars
8/18/05 ES blah, meh, who cares= a movie no one will adore 2 stars
7/03/05 Ronin Typical Hollywood product. Nicely packaged piece of crap. Charlize Theron is great though. 3 stars
6/13/05 Agent Sands The heists are great, but I didn't care for much else. GREAT technical filmmaking! 4 stars
4/03/05 Phil M. Aficionado Ho hum. I guess I should skip contrived action flicks that are ridiculous on their face 3 stars
3/07/05 Charlie Good, the original is definitely better, but the remake still rocks! 4 stars
2/20/05 Captain Craig Nothing original here, but entertaining anyway 4 stars
1/13/05 Tjalda L. Schiel Wahlberg is soooo dull. Mini Coopers are soooo hot! 3 stars
12/29/04 Katie Evridge Great action movie 5 stars
12/27/04 efrain Ho-Hum 3 stars
9/05/04 McReady In Antartica Not great, not bad either, Stella with her ponytail is bueatiful, cool chases 3 stars
7/25/04 Melissa Much better than I expected. Kept me riveted to the couch! 4 stars
5/01/04 Monster W. Kung So-so heist movie. Wahlberg has no charisma, as usual. 3 stars
4/26/04 el yosharto napster is really fucking hot!i loves him so iz handsome rob n charlie nice abs stella sux! 5 stars
3/05/04 max It made me want a mini. Thats bout it. 2 stars
3/03/04 Agent Sands Changed my mind. Original is better. This is 2 serious for its own good sometimes. 4 stars
2/07/04 homeburger88 Stella Bridger is so hott in this movie 5 stars
12/22/03 HorrorScribbler Mark steals gold, Seth and Mos Def steal movie 4 stars
12/12/03 Agent Sands A little better than the original. The heists are brilliant. Good cast & music. 4 stars
11/13/03 snowconehead Not inventive or clever, but decent enough to watch 3 stars
11/06/03 Capt' Fox Typical action/caper flick. Ok time waster - average movie. 3 stars
10/24/03 ILLEGALLY BLONDE Charlize Theron finally shows talent, even if by trying TOO hard not to be Ashley Judd. 4 stars
10/23/03 JJ This very entertaining caper movie is really worth watching with a good plot and action! 4 stars
10/14/03 Ronald A Weiss If you forget what happened in 1969, this is ok 4 stars
10/05/03 Kitty Great the 1st time round, okay the 2nd time round but the 3rd time was like "Kill me now.." 3 stars
9/24/03 Zaharin Hamid aka The Movie Samseng I love this movie. Mark Wahlberg is wicked! A brillant all-star cast. 5 stars
9/21/03 Jonathan Nicholas Shit, If it wasnt called the italian job, you wouldnt see a simularity to original. 1 stars
9/05/03 alien assassin Better than most remakes. 4 stars
9/01/03 marzio arigoni@rtsi.ch nothing special, but at least not boring 3 stars
8/27/03 Mr. Hat Definitely 1 of the best heist movies ever. And I watch lots. All cast & crew R excellent!! 5 stars
8/19/03 Robert Beveridge seriously underwhelming 2 stars
8/18/03 Boris Great fun! Does everything have to be rocket science, people? 5 stars
8/14/03 Paul Dempsey This job should put Marky Mark on the unemployed list for good! 1 stars
8/14/03 JJ from da block Italian job blows...and the mini cooper is a honda civic station wagon from yesteryear 1 stars
7/09/03 Joe Charlize would do a better job with my 8" hammer in her ass. 2 stars
7/09/03 yot kim not very good 1 stars
7/08/03 6th Sense Ho-hum heist movie, been there, done that. . . 3 stars
7/03/03 Jake Awsome movie, video game is even better 5 stars
6/27/03 toneely This film is a great litle escape!! I loved it!! 5 stars
6/18/03 Fonq35 go watch the fucking original 2 stars
6/16/03 Andrew Carden Theron Is Great, but She Cannot Save This Inept Film... 2 stars
6/15/03 Benjamin Lesbian Thoroughly enjoyable heist film. Not as clever as Ocean's 11, but still worth your cash. 4 stars
6/14/03 Mini-Cab This here's a story about the Mini Cooper, the car chases are really super duper... 4 stars
6/14/03 Jax Sweet. I don't know. My boyfriend thought it was okay, too. 4 stars
6/11/03 FLiK eh...it was better than 2 fast 2 furious... 4 stars
6/09/03 F. Gary Gray To Scott Weinberg: bear in mind that the guy who made this also did A Man Apart 2 stars
6/08/03 MicBang Good flick 4 stars
6/05/03 your worse goddamn nightmare it was all fluff and fireworks, but entertaining at the least 3 stars
6/04/03 vagile no surprises but good fun 4 stars
6/03/03 Jack Bourbon Nice finish to Norton's slimy character. Better flick than expected. 4 stars
6/01/03 malcolm well-acted, nice characters in spite of being a summer popcorn film 4 stars
6/01/03 ajay if you're going *for* Charlize, then don't. It's a good heist movie though. 4 stars
6/01/03 37!!!!! I like car chases! I like Charlize Theron! I like this movie...good summer fun! 5 stars
5/31/03 mee good 4 stars
5/31/03 maximus probably worth a look. nothing we haven't seen before but entertaining enough 4 stars
5/25/03 Greg Edmiston Just saw a sneak peak.... it was fucking insane! A- 5 stars
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  30-May-2003 (PG-13)



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