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The Italian Job

An American remake of a British institution.... Whatever was to be expected - Mark MarkWahlberg screaming - "Goddamit, you're only supposed to blow the damn doors off"?

Well, first things first. To call this a 'remake' would actually be doing both films a great disservice. To call it a 'reimagining' a la Tim Burton's 'Planet Of The Apes' would be even wider of the mark. To all intents and purposes 2003's 'Italian Job' is nothing more than a brand new heist movie that's stolen it's title and some characters (including the Minis!) from our own beloved Bank Holiday favourite.

The movie starts where it's predecessor left off - in Italy. Our gang, led by Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) have just pulled off an enormous gold bullion heist worth $35 million. During the getaway one of the gang betrays his buddies, kills Charlie's mentor (a nice cameo by Donald Sutherland), leaves the rest for dead and makes off with the gold for himself. So within fifteen minutes, the movie spirits the audience away to Los Angeles, twelve months later, having nicely taken care of the 'Italian' part of the title.

Now the movie really begins as Charlie plots his revenge on his nemesis (Edward Norton), he gets his old crew back together, along with Charlize Theron as Donald Sutherland's daughter (who handily happens to be an expert safe cracker) and they hatch a plan to retrieve their stolen loot. Along the way, they pick up a few plot devices from the old movie (such as the need to hack into the city's traffic light computer system) and the movie races towards a huge chase finale.

Now, once you get past the very British reservation about the movie's title, what we have here is a perfectly enjoyable popcorn flick. The characters are all vividly drawn and larger than life, particularly Jason Statham in his first real Hollywood role to make any impact on the box office. Along with Mos Def's 'Left Ear' character, Statham's 'Handsome Rob' is one of the most enjoyable factors in the entire movie.

If you leave your doubts at the door of the multiplex, you'll find a rather passable  way to spend a couple of hours - just don't think of it as a remake and you'll be OK!


Sean G