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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.39%
Worth A Look40.71%
Average: 25.66%
Pretty Bad: 17.7%
Total Crap: 3.54%

7 reviews, 71 user ratings

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Italian Job, The (2003)
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by Erik Childress

"Perfectly Entertaining. And Sometimes, Thatís Enough."
4 stars

I hear the term ďperfectly entertainingĒ thrown about quite a bit amongst colleagues and friends. Defined in the Childress dictionary as (1) a film that doesnít set the world of cinema on fire. (2) Is a suitable distraction for the mall-walkers not looking for a night out at the theatre. (3) A just plain-old fun flick made with just enough skill to make it worth your two hours. Get where Iím going with all this? Iíll still try to make the read worth your time.

If the title rings your bell, then theyíve already completed job one. Grab your attention with a familiar sounding title. In this case, another remake that isnít really ďreimaginedĒ, just recast with the most memorable parts kept in. Mark Wahlberg wouldnít exactly be the first choice to replace Michael Caineís original role, but that didnít stop Jonathan Demme from trying to dopplegang Cary Grant with Wahlberg in his Charade remake, The Truth About Charlie, or Tim Burton in Planet of the Apes. Címon címon now. As long as the current redux king is not called on to carry the film on his shoulders, heís a perfectly entertaining presence. Thankfully again, heís been surrounded with a colorful cast.

Wahlberg is Charlie Croker, the brains behind the titular operation. His requisite father figure, John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) hasnít been all that good a dad to his only daughter, spending most of his life in prison and now taking on one final big score. Itís always a wonder how the gadgets and technology are available to pull off such a heist, (especially the coolly-executed opening one) but they always prove to be flawlessly on-the-money. Just once Iíd like to see the computer expertís terminal freeze up.

Included on the team are Handsome Rob (Jason Statham, all but replaying his getaway expert from The Transporter), computer expert Lyle (Seth Green) who humorously keeps reminding everyone that heís the brains behind Napster, explosives expert Left Ear (Mos Def) who blew out the other ear and Steve (Edward Norton) who is about to sabotage the crew for their $37 million gold snatch and give John a different kind of retirement.

With everyone presumed dead and Steve spotted in San Francisco, itís time for the big payback. Which, speaking of $37 million gold snatch, Croker needs to recruit Bridgerís safecrackiní daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron) for the assault on Steve-Oís house. Reluctant at first, but then interested in some good old-fashioned revenge, Stella joins the crew and the plans go into effect.

Uploading the traffic jam approach from 1969, sales are also likely to go up thanks to the promotional touch of including the Mini-Coopers to the mix. Not that youíll have any success finding it in video stores or for sale at the time of the remakeís release (the DVD was announced and then delayed by Paramount), but itís the Mini-Me of car chases that has made the original stand out over all these years. Director F. Gary Gray has some fun with the dwarf vehicles racing at top speeds, down staircases and through the subway, but no one should ever rank this yearís models with the best ever made.

Gray does keep the action moving briskly though and keeps a light approach to the material, but never takes any risks to elevate it beyond its provided definition. The screenplay by husband/wife team Wayne & Donna Powers takes a minimalist approach to its characters, setting up Wahlbergís level-headed brains vs. Nortonís more reactionary thief, but only confronts their chess game with a few lines of dialogue. Why even bother with the Ukranian mob if a payoff is enough to cool their threats with axes and industrial machinery? Thankfully, the cast brings enough personality to their performances to warrant our involvement.

Theron stands out bringing a human touch to the film amidst the characterizations. Seth Green is his usual amusing self and likely ad-libbed the funniest scene in the film, providing commentary on one of Handsome Robís conquests. Edward Norton, somewhat cajoled into another heist flick after The Score, provides us with enough sneers for his villain even while playing him like just another spoiled rich kid.

The Italian Job exists in a world without cops or authorities; the kind where those you steal from handles their own mess with outside contracts. I canít vouch for how inconspicuous a speeding trio of red, white & blue Mini-Coops can be in the biggest traffic jam in California history or how you can manipulate such a thing in the middle of an airport without security never asking questions, but I had a lot of fun never thinking about it. The film goes exactly where you expect it to go without offering much in the way of surprises and I still smiled from credit-to-credit. Itís certainly not perfect, but itís perfectly entertaining.

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originally posted: 05/30/03 15:06:13
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User Comments

3/25/18 morris campbell not bad but nothing special 4 stars
2/20/11 Ark Good stuff! 4 stars
3/29/10 Monday Morning They should have used Town Cars, not Mini-Coopers. 2 stars
2/18/08 Pamela White great plot and mini cooper heaven 5 stars
3/20/07 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
9/28/06 Indrid Cold An amiable but forgettable Ocean's Eleven-style heist movie. 3 stars
3/30/06 Stephanie Francis i loving it because it my favorite miovie ever 5 stars
3/28/06 Brian Meyer If you can't write a good "HEIST" movie... remake a classic. OR NOT!!! 3 stars
1/19/06 R.W.Welch Less inspired than the original but generally entertaining. 4 stars
1/15/06 tatum Slightly better than the original 4 stars
1/03/06 Anthony Feor The ride at Canada's Wonderland was better 3 stars
12/06/05 J.D. Pittman III It was slick. Their driving skills were almost equal to mine. 4 stars
11/27/05 Quigley better than ocean's eleven by a long shot. well acted, funny, and really cool. 5 stars
8/25/05 tony Awsome.No question about it! 5 stars
8/19/05 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
6/14/05 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
2/21/05 Captain Craig Nothing original here, but entertaining anyway 4 stars
1/14/05 Tjalda L. Schiel Wahlberg is soooo dull. Mini Coopers are soooo hot! 3 stars
12/30/04 Katie Evridge Great action movie 5 stars
12/28/04 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
7/26/04 Melissa Much better than I expected. Kept me riveted to the couch! 4 stars
5/02/04 Monster W. Kung So-so heist movie. Wahlberg has no charisma, as usual. 3 stars
4/27/04 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
3/04/04 Agent Sands Changed my mind. Original is better. This is 2 serious for its own good sometimes. 4 stars
2/08/04 homeburger88 Stella Bridger is so hott in this movie 5 stars
12/23/03 HorrorScribbler Mark steals gold, Seth and Mos Def steal movie 4 stars
12/13/03 Agent Sands A little better than the original. The heists are brilliant. Good cast & music. 4 stars
11/14/03 snowconehead Not inventive or clever, but decent enough to watch 3 stars
11/07/03 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
10/15/03 Ronald A Weiss If you forget what happened in 1969, this is ok 4 stars
10/06/03 Kitty Great the 1st time round, okay the 2nd time round but the 3rd time was like "Kill me now.." 3 stars
9/25/03 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
9/06/03 alien assassin Better than most remakes. 4 stars
9/01/03 marzio nothing special, but at least not boring 3 stars
8/28/03 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
8/15/03 Paul Dempsey This job should put Marky Mark on the unemployed list for good! 1 stars
8/15/03 JJ from da block Italian job blows...and the mini cooper is a honda civic station wagon from yesteryear 1 stars
7/10/03 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
7/09/03 6th Sense Ho-hum heist movie, been there, done that. . . 3 stars
7/04/03 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 was better than 2 fast 2 furious... 4 stars
6/10/03 F. Gary Gray To Scott Weinberg: bear in mind that the guy who made this also did A Man Apart 2 stars
6/09/03 MicBang Good flick 4 stars
6/06/03 your worse goddamn nightmare it was all fluff and fireworks, but entertaining at the least 3 stars
6/05/03 vagile no surprises but good fun 4 stars
6/04/03 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
6/01/03 mee good 4 stars
6/01/03 maximus probably worth a look. nothing we haven't seen before but entertaining enough 4 stars
5/26/03 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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