Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)Reviewed By MP Bartley
Posted 01/11/02 02:40:29
With a lot of producers or directors you always know what you're going to get. The Coen Brothers: lots of wordplay. Joel Schumacher: homoerotica. Jerry Bruckheimer: lots of explosions, silly characters and general nonsense. What you don't expect to get is boredom.He's a peddler of shit yes, but it's superficially entertaining shit at best, which makes 'Gone' so surprising in it's pedestrian pace.
A Bruckheimer film will never stand up to close scrutiny so I think it's fitting that this review will consist of bullet points, as that's all the film consists of- random sequences pasted together to try and acheive some form and structure.
Point 1)The film centres around Nic Cages character, Memphis Raines (Bruckheimers films always have at least one character with a wacky name.It's a law or something)having to save his younger brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi), from a local mobster. He has to do this by stealing 50 cars in one night and to do this he re-assembles his old crew of car thieves. So now that we know the film is about car thieves, we'd expect at least one thing:car chases. But oh no, most of the action revolves around Cage and company standing around looking at cars saying, "Gee, that's pretty that car. I'd like that car. I'll get that car one day". The few times an actual chase does develop it has all the pace and excitement of Herbie the Love Bug.
Point 2) We do have one major set-piece though. Memphis has got the last car that he needs to complete the collection. But wouldn't you know it? His way is blocked by a traffic jam. Lucky for him then, that there's a convenient ramp he can use to jump over the queue and get on his way. Any potential for a breathtaking one-take shot of this car sailing over the others (think the broken bridge jump in the Bond film, Live And Let Die)is ruined by director Dominic Sena's insistence on cutting away to several different edits of the action. NOTE TO DIRECTORS-Rapid edit-cutting will not inspire awe or convince us that the stunts aren't CGI enhanced.It does the opposite.Schmucks.
Point 3)Exactly how many cliched characters do we have here? We have Memphis, the retired car criminal forced into action for one last big job (and he has one of those c-c-crazy character tics of having to listen to a particular song before doing anything. He then signals his enjoyment of the song by waving his hands in,like, a funny way. Wow, what a joker)
We have his resentful, off-the-rails younger brother who he has to 'bond' with before actually doing the job.He has a resentful ex-girlfriend he has to'bond' with before doing the job (good thing he wants to do the job in just the one night. Any longer would infringe on all the bonding he has to do)
We have the seasoned old pro.We have the comedy black guy who likes to keep reminding us that he's the comedy black guy by continually referencing it. We have the tough cop with a heart of gold who despite devoting his life to catching Memphis, decides to let him go when he catches him cos he has,like, family problems and stuff.Excuse me what?!
We have the silent character (Vinnie Jones) who when he does finally speak, is supposed to inspire laughter and crys of "Ooo!How clever and witty!" It doesn't.It inspires yawns of boredom.
And then there's a villain.But he deserves a point all of his own...
Point 4)Now Christipher Eccleston is a fine actor. Watch 'Elizabeth' for proof of that. But he's woeful here as the villain. He's British (cliche #1), he lives in a metalworks foundry (cliche #2), and he has a line in terrible puns (cliche #3).Eg, "It never RAINES but it pours!Mwa-ha-ha!". But what really drags him down to the depths of awfulness is the fact that this evil, evil man is known as dun-dun-dah...The Carpenter.Yes that's right, The Carpenter.Because he likes wood.No I'm not kidding, I wish I was.Take the climatic scene, where Cage threatens Eccleston by...smashing his chairs to pieces.No really, stop giggling.Jesus Christ, the Count from Sesame Street is scarier than this guy!
Now I've never been particularly interested in cars, so I'm not going to salivate over this film simply because it has lots of shiny, flash cars.Big deal.But I can appreciate a fine car chase, such as 'Bullitt'. That 'Gone In 60 Seconds' fails on this scene is dissapointing. That it's a Bruckheimer film, when you would expect some action, however silly, is doubly dissapointing.It really is boring,vapid,glossy nonsense.No excitement, no tension, no characters, nothing.Not even bad enough for one star, it's that bland. Skip it. Please.
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