After pulling off an elaborate job in Venice with a $32 million
dollars worth of gold bullion as the score, Charlie (Wahlberg), Lyle (Green),
Handsome Rob (Statham), Left Ear (Def) and John (Sutherland) are planning
what they are going to spend their share on. What they didn't plan for was
the last member of the gang, Steve (Norton) double crossing them and taking
the loot for himself. One year later, Charlie finally tracks down Steve to
L.A. and starts formulating a plan to get revenge by getting the gold back.
Remaking a movie that has become a British institution, where
does Hollywood get the nerve? Well that's what everyone thought until you
actually see it.
The film should be labelled "inspired by" and not a remake as
it only has four things in common with the original 1969 classic, the title,
the Charlie Croker character, the gold and the minis. Everything else is different.
There is an opening heist in Venice, where the movie gets its title but the
rest of the film takes place in the US. While there is an injection of humour,
mainly coming from the banter between the supporting cast, the film is played
straighter than the tongue in cheek original but it benefits from this as
it distances itself from any preconceptions you may have had.
The cast is good and easy to get behind. Mark Wahlberg doesn't
have the charisma or style of the 1960s Michael Caine but this is a decent
role for the actor. He is the apprentice taking over the reigns from the master
and even though he is slightly too young for the part, Wahlberg plays the
leader well. Jason Statham is making a name for himself in Hollywood playing
the hard Brit with a certain amount of humour and cool. Seth Green is a good
as always as the obsessed computer nerd with a grudge and is the brunt of
most of the jokes. Charlize Theron is a beautiful as ever playing safecracker
Stella and Edward Norton, even under contractual obligation and on autopilot,
brings abit of class and menace to any screen villain.
The movie comes into its own when the real stars take centre
stage, the Mini Coopers. The car chases above and below the streets of Los
Angeles are terrific, showing what good stunt driving can really do without
the need for any computer enhancement.
This version of the Italian Job is more akin to the Ocean's
11 remake. While it doesn't have the style and flare of the Steven Soderbergh
homage, director F. Gary Gray has done enough to make this movie suitably
different as to not offend fans of the original and give new audiences a really
good time. Those of you how are saying "I'm not going to see that" because
of a heart felt feeling of patriotism should think again, this update is pleasantly
entertaining and really has nothing to do with the movie that you love and
Now where is the nearest Mini dealership?
Presented in Widescreen 2.35:1 Anamorphic with a Dolby Digital
5.1 soundtrack, this as with most modern transfers is exceptionally good.
The colours are very sharp during the day scenes and with deep blacks really
accentuate the darkness of the tunnel sequences. The 5.1 surround sound really
comes into its own during the climatic Mini chase, as the growl of the engines
and the relentless cavalcade of horns and shouting from the beleaguered people
stuck in the traffic jam blurts out of every speaker.
Pedal to the Metal: The making of The Italian Job (18.17
This entertaining featurette has the cast and crew introducing and talking
about the main characters from the movie. Director F. Gary Gray and producers
Donald D. Line and Jim Dyer introduce each of the characters. The cast talk
about how the actor was to work with and what the brought to the movie. Mark
Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Seth Green, Jason Statham and
Mos Def talk about each other and what they had to go through to bring the
movie to the screen. Edward Norton is noticeably absent from the interviews
but the cast and crew do speak favourably about him.
Putting the words onto the page for The Italian Job (5.47
Donna and Wayne Powers talk about writing the screenplay that was only inspired
by the original 1969 movie and not a complete remake. This is an interesting
insight into the screenwriting process and reveals how long it actually takes
to produce a finished screenplay.
The Italian Job: Driving School (5.36 mins)
A behind-the-scenes look at how Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and Jason Statham
had to go on a three-week stunt driving school course to prepare for the movie.
This is a funny featurette that features Jason Statham and Charlize Theron
getting very competitive over who was the best at the stunts. It also takes
you onto the set to show you the fruits of their training.
The mighty Minis of The Italian Job (5.38 mins)
Showcasing the iconic cars that are the starts of the original and this movie.
Revealing the extent of the stunts and how many minis the production actually
went through, the featurette plays homage to one of the coolest cars on the
High Octane: Stunts from The Italian Job (7.52 mins)
Behind-the-scenes of the Venice boat chase, the truck drop and the helicopter
stunt. Highlighting the fact that the actors and stunt people did this for
real with no computer graphics involved at all.
Deleted Scenes (8.38 mins)
Six deleted scenes in which actor Mos Def must be really annoyed at. Most
of them are extended scenes from the mini chase but they involve a fully removed
subplot where Left Eye has to take over driving from Handsome Rob. It would
have been nice to have a director's commentary to accompany this so that we
could understand why this amusing sub-plot ended up on the cutting room floor.
The final theatrical trailer is also included
Easter Egg: Seth Green Gag Reel (5.55 mins)
This hidden extra features the improvisational talents of Seth Green during
the TV repair van heist. This shows what a talented comedic actor Seth Green
The five featurettes and the deleted scenes give you a very
good insight into the making of the movie. The DVD cries out for a commentary
track however as this is an ensemble piece that could have had a great cast
chat to accompany the movie. The bonus features add extra value to what is
a really enjoyable popcorn movie and will only enhance the film to fans and
first time watchers alike.
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