This is Gene Hackman's character expounding on what exactly he plans to do in regards to the job at hand.And on its ear he puts it,not only to his fellow film characters but more especially to we the viewers.This Nov/2001 released film is what I would call a definite sleeper which I wish had gotten more exposure at the time,and which still stands up as one heck of a film.
The story starts out with some seemingly unrelated business involving Joe(Hackman)out for some innocent hunting,taking notes of some kind and walking away.The scene then switches to the big city where Joe and his crew Bobby(Delroy Lindo),Pinky(Ricky Jay)and Fran(Rebecca Pidgeon)are all heavily involved in quite the complicated upscale jewelery store heist.Once inside the store a snag occurs when one of the employees has failed to be pre-drugged and is up walking around.Joe must Tazer her but in the process he is caught on the security cameras.While his buddies go to work getting the goods Joe desperately tries to gain access to the locked security hardware but fails.
Now facially tagged by the police he believes he must retire out of the business.When he brings the goods to his fence Mickey(Danny Devito),Mickey takes advantage of the situation to bring him back for one more job;to rob a Swiss plane of its gold.Having no choice this is about when Joe says he will stand the job on its ear and we watch as Joe's plan unfolds;using sleight of hand as his play book.As an insurance policy Mickey sends his nephew Jimmy(Sam Rockwell)along as his eyes and ears to see nothing goes awry.During a preliminary set up of the inital plan an "argument" breaks out between all of the conspirators and a seeming break up occurs between Joe and Bobby because of Jimmy's sloppiness and naiveté.It's a ruse to get Jimmy out of the picture for a while while they shore up the real plans.Jimmy of course eventually comes back but Fran has been sent to infiltrate Mickey's camp acting as a kind of traitor against Joe and playing Jimmy.
The airplane heist goes off like clockwork.All details are finely played out,even to the extent of taking out of the equation a security supervisor who believes Joe is working for the FAA,so they can more easily get past and take over the initial security post.The seemingly unimportant hunting expedition at the beginning of the film now comes into focus as we see it was near the airport border.They had pre-planted an explosive device which now goes off as the Swiss place is taxiing the runway.Disguised as security men they rush out and board the plan and disable the crew.This allows access to the cargo hold and the gold they seek.
As they are leaving Jimmy double crosses Joe,knocking him out and he and Fran leave the airport with the van full of loot.Along their escape route they have a near miss accident and end up against a tree.The cargo is partially spilled out and when Jimmy goes to check its contents he finds they are nothing but boxes filled with metal washers.Fran meanwhile has jumped out and hailed a passing truck to escape.Later that day Joe returns as a business man to the airport to take his cargo which he says must be personally taken to a customer or it is his job.The cargo?...metal washers.The boxes are still there with the "company logo" on them,but as Joe and we now know,it is the real gold inside those cases.
Later back at Joe's boating business he and Bobby are busy smelting down the gold bars.The plan seems to be to take the gold and run for it;stiffing Mickey.Still later that day Fran stops by to pay a visit and a rendezvous is established.Joe puts alot of rubbing into the seemingly brass fittings on the boast and sails to meet Fran.In the meantime Mickey has gotten a confession not only from Fran but from Pinky,who he kills.When Joe meets Fran he also has to confront Mickey and his boys.When Mickey demands the gold a shoot out occurs with Mickey and the boys going down for the final count.His boat has been set adrift during the fire fight and a chagrined Joe watches as it drifts away.
Back at his boating store he is busy painting a pick up truck full of metal rods.Fran and Jimmy show up and steal the pick up and its contents away.Apparently with nothing left Joe gets into another pick up truck sitting in the garage,which also has metal rods in it.While leaving a protruding piece scratches against the garage door revealing the bright gold colour beneath the paint.He drives away smiling.
This film has more twists and turns to it than the drive up to Pike's Peak.In fact even at the end we don't really know whether this was just another ruse by Joe to distract Jimmy.Will Fran meet Joe down in the Caribbean eventually? The twists are inherent in the script and are designed to fool both the characters and we the viewers;and it works tremendously well.It has been sometime since I have watched this film and I must say it has retained it's punch well.The great thing about this film over and above its superior script and its taut directing is that there is not a moment of unwasted footage in this film.Every second has some meaning and purpose behind it and the 109 minutes of its run go by very,very fast.If you don't have to look at your watch once during a films run you know you have a good one on your hands.
Technically speaking this DVD has been transferred quite nicely in its' 1:85:1 a/r and everything is clear and crisp.The only extra on it is the trailer.
In conclusion this movie is one heck of a ride and wonderfully directed,written and acted by all concerned.Its a very smart film that constantly keeps the audience on its toes from beginning to end.What you see isn't always what you get.I recommend this movie highly.