The only thing wrong with The Italian Job is a miscast Mark Wahlberg and a misused Charlize Theron. It's a pity that the film wasn't cast with an actor of Ed Norton's caliber in the role of Charlie Croker (played by Wahlberg. Norton can be quite a charming actor and it would have been interesting to see him in the role. Like the horrible reimagined Planet of the Apes, The Italian Job isn't a remake as such but using the same basic dramatic situation to create a new, interesting and kinetic film. The plot has been pretty well summarized before but it hinges more on the revenge angle than the original film (if memory serves); Charlie Croker (Wahlberg)and his mentor's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron)are going after one of their own. Ed Norton plays Steve a member of their gang who steals from his friends and then bumps off the John Bridges the head of their gang (Donald Sutherland). Croker and Stella set up the ultimate scam/heist to get what was theirs to begin with and extract revenge for the murder. The latter part of the film is set in Los Angeles although the Mini-Cooper's so prominent in the original film still have more than a featured cameo. Turning the original film's basic plot on its head helps make this version a refreshing take on the original tale. F. Gary Gray's direction infuses the film with enough energy to fuel two films. His direction is crisp, sharp and usually on target. The cast he and the producers assembled (including the marvelous Seth Green)can, for the most part, more than hold their own against the Michael Caine's crew in the 1969 film. The only major drawback, again, is Wahlberg who is adequate but doesn't bring any charisma to the role. A better choice to cast in the film would have been George Clooney who at least has the wattage to light up the role. The widescreen transfer looks very, very good. I don't own but did get a glimpse of the fullscreen version as well and it looked fairly good as well. The extras include five featurettes on everything from the making of the film to the stunt driving. While there isn't a director's commentary (much less one from the cast), perhaps that's all for the better. It seems the action speaks for itself. You'll notice you can get both films as a two DVD set. If you're a fan of the original and have seen this version and liked it, then it might be a better way to go vs. buying them individually. Unfortunately, the two Jobs set doesn't include anything beyond what's on them individually, so the only benefit might be in saving a bit of money. While it's not a bus full of gold, The 2003 film packs enough thrills, chills and spills to make it worthwhile viewing if nothing else than for a rental.
Six men team up to pull off a complex heist in Venice, Italy. John (Donald Sutherland) is a veteran thief pulling off one last job. Charlie (Mark Wahlberg) is his protege at the helm of an operation for the first time. Kyle (Seth Green) is their computer guy. Left Ear (Mos Def) does explosives and demolition. Handsome Rob (Jason Statham) is the wheel man responsible for the getaway. And Steve (Edward Norton) infiltrates the target building. The object of their desire is a safe containing $35 million in gold bricks. The job goes as planned until Steve betrays his partners, leaves them for dead, and makes off with the loot. A year later, back in the United States, Charlie has tracked Steve down and reassembled his team to take back the gold and exact revenge for John's murder. John's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron), a safe expert who normally works on the right side of the law, joins them with vengence on her mind. Director F. Gary Gray has made an upbeat, funny and action-packed caper film. "The Italian Job" is light entertainment. The characters have just enough depth to bring them within the bounds of credibility and enough idiosyncrasies to make them entertaining. The film revolves around clever, complicated heists and spectacular chase scenes. Three souped up Mini Coopers and one vintage Mini are featured prominently. These little cars steal every scene they are in. "The Italian Job"'s stunts and chase sequences are not digitally enhanced. They were filmed the old fashioned way with lots of fancy driving and smashed cars, which gives them a sense of fun sometimes absent in modern action films. Sometimes I felt that too much time was spent on the antics of the obligatory colorful characters,which creates excessive lulls between substantive scenes. The movie tries desperately to make computer technology look interesting and sexy, which seems to be the (failed) mission of every action film these days. But "The Italian Job" is slick, fun, and energetic. It is only loosely based on the 1969 film of the same name. Recommended for a good time at the movies and to Mini Cooper aficionados everywhere. The DVD: Bonus features include a short "making of" documentary with interviews with director F. Gary Gray and the film's cast (except Edward Norton), interviews with the film's writers, a segment about the driving training that the actors received, a segment about the film's specially designed Mini Coopers, explanations of the film's most spectacular stunts including the unprecedented chase scene in Venice's canals, some deleted scenes, and the theatrical trailer. There are a few interesting tidbits, mostly about the cars.
...I'm not much of a fan of Hollywood formula action flicks, but this one had many more redeeming features than most: 1. A True Babe---in Charlize Theron, who is not only blonde but actually beautiful in a unique way (most Hollywood blondes are blandly homogenous) and can actually act. Marvelous eye candy. 2. Somewhat interesting characters---the computer nerd is pretty stock, but the others are somewhat original, esp. Handsome Rob, who's just hilarious. 3. Somewhat original action scenes---how they dislodge the safe in Venice, and then the armored car in L.A., was rather neat. 4. Unusual choice of Cool Car---I'd expect Porsches, BMWs, Ferraris...but never the Mini-Cooper, which looks the Communist-era East German Trabant, a little box on wheels. 5. Competent dialogue---most action flicks are full of clunky, hackneyed lines that just make you feel sorry for the poor actors who have to deliver them with a straight face. This screenplay in contrast seems to have been written by actual junior high school graduates. Now my dislikes: 1. Plot gets more than a little unbelievable towards the end---namely, why didn't our heroes just as easily wack Edward Norton's character themselves at the end, instead of paying off the Russian mob a huge chunk of loot to do it for them? 2. Why does Charlize Theron get to keep her clothes on in this movie? What a crying shame, especially considering she didn't in "Cider House Rules" which was geared to far less of a predominantly male audience. Wait...could it be the PG-13 rating, which would allow in a lot more prepubescent moviegoers? 3. Cheesy product placement. C'mon, a world-class professional hacker typing away at a DELL laptop for Pete's sake??? Yeah, right!
This is a remake of a mediocre caper film made with Michael Caine, whose role is reprised by Mark Wahlberg; also in this update are Donald Sutherland, Edward Norton, Seth Green and Charlize Theron. You'd think with that cast, early locations in Venice and a reputedly spectacular car chase, you'd have a decent action film here, right? Unfortunately, the script is tepid at best, with poor Donald S. having to utter some of the goofiest lines I've heard in a while. DVD extras include featurettes about the driving, the cars and the stunts as well as an 18-minute making-of feature, a trailer and 6 deleted scenes. The film can be heard in English or French with optional English subtitles. There is nothing new or remarkable here, though it's harmless enough if you like these actors or want to see a few minutes filmed in Venice or would like to see the Mini-Cooper car chase.
Hopefully, that caption didn't scare you off. This movie provided pure escapism that didn't annoy the viewer with illogical twists or a plot that unravels. I enjoyed this movie much more than I thought I might. It was a surprisingly good adventure story that remained solid to the ending credits. Yeah, you rooted for the good guys (or is that criminals?) all the way through the film but aren't you suppose to in this genre, if it's done right? This movie was done more than right - it was done with a well written script, snappy dialogue, fast paced plot, interesting characters and great acting. Ohhh, the cars didn't hurt either - made me want to run out and get a mini cooper until I remembered they were made by BMW not to mention having two kids....ahhhh the magic of a good film.
I read somewhere that Edward Norton appears in this film only due to contractual obligations. He thought the sceript was silly. And it is. Man, what a stupid history. After a promising beginning, everything goes downhill. Walhberg, as always, is his wooden face best. There's only a vague idea of a plot, nothing more. A big waste of time.
Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) has planned a gold heist with a group of professionals in Venice, Italy, that displays his sophisticated style without using violence. In order to accomplish the heist Croker has asked the old-timer John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) to help crack the safe in which the gold is located. They get safely away with a large amount of gold, however, Steve (Edward Norton) has decided to keep all the gold for himself and kill the rest of the group. Steve shoots John while the rest of the group escapes, but they decide on settling the score with Steve as they decide to take the gold back with the help of John's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron). The Italian Job is a fun and suspenseful action film with car chases and dubious schemes, which leaves the audience with a good cinematic experience.