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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 Brian McKay

"Who needs an actual movie when you have those cute widdle cars?"
2 stars

Maybe I've just seen one too many (and most much better) heist movies, but trust me - the only "Italian Job" worth spending an hour and a half of your life on is a hummer from Monica Belluci. Given the unenthusiastic and uninspired script, the cardboard cutout characters, and the humdrum chase sequences, I can only assume that this was a 90 minute palette for product placement, rather than an actual film.

Now, granted - heist films have never really been my cup of tea. Yet I know a halfway decent one when I see one. For every ten overly-contrived examples of the genre, there is the occasional gem the stands out on the radar, like the recent small release The Good Thief or even the convoluted but mostly entertaining Oceans 11. And then you just have a bunch of films like this one. Not particularly horrible or completely unwatchable - but not terribly ambitious, clever, or inspired either. They're just good enough to keep you from walking out, but you never feel like your 9 dollars were wisely invested afterward.

If you've seen the previews, you know the plot and all the money shot moments already. But just to recap-

A team of thieves led by veteran heist-meister John Bridger (a rather bland Donald Sutherland, who is content to phone it in) pull off a big heist of gold bars in Venice. When they've made their getaway, team member Steve (Edward Norton who is phoning it in long-distance from a pay phone, using a calling card that he stole off of a sleeping wino) pulls a double-cross, kills John, and leaves the others for dead at the bottom of a river.

Forward one year later, and we have the late John's prize pupil Charlie Croaker (Mark Wahlberg, who usually looks like he's phoning it in even if he's not) showing up at the doorstep of John's estranged daughter, Stella (Charlize Theron - who could phone it in on string and a pair of Dixie cups for all we give a shit, because she's Charlize Theron). Charlie and the surviving crew from the Italian Job have tracked down the slimy bastard Steve, and it's payback time. They need her help, however, because none of them can crack Steve's safe, unlike the daughter of a famous safecracker who also cracks safes (only she does it for the Police - it's important they throw that in there, just so we can be sure that "oh yeah, she's really a good person). She turns them down at first, then opts in after a thirty second scene of staring at Daddy's pictures and crying.

After that, it's a very long hour and change of planning the details of the overly-contrived and overcomplicated heist, which involves hijacking cable TV vans, hacking Los Angeles traffic control to create an escape route, and modifying the omnipresent sponsorship partner's Mini-cooper cars (more about them in a moment). And this is what the problem is with 90 percent of films like this. Everything is way too elaborate and far-fetched when it doesn't need to be, and a huge overemphasis is placed on the power of "hacking". If someone killed your mentor and friend, stole your money, and left you for dead, then I think it's perfectly okay to just kick in his door, put a gun in his face, and say "Where's my gold, motherfucker!"

The crew includes the omnipotent hacker character who can shut down city traffic with a few keystrokes - something we've seen ad-nauseum in every other movie since Die Hard, but at least Seth Green manages to squeeze some laughs out of the role. God bless that young man for the few laugh out loud scenes this film does manage to deliver. As for the others, Jason Statham and Mos Def bring a couple of smiles to the face as the getaway driver and demolitions expert, but not much more. Mark Wahlberg acts like Mark Wahlberg. Charlize looks good standing around in tight jeans and wifebeaters and opens a lot of safes. The lax Norton is practically unrecognizable from the quiet intensity he gave us in Fight Club, and could yet end up another fine example of an excellent actor ruined by Hollywood. Edward, please don't let your light go out. Think like Tyler Durden. Deliver us from fat studio paychecks for crappy roles, and from Sweedish furniture. Eye of the Tiger, Baby.

Now about those damn Mini-Coopers. If Castaway was a 90 million dollar Fed-Ex commercial (and it was), then this is a 110 minute infomercial for the damn Mini-Cooper. Yes, I know, they're so small and cute. Well, it won't look too cute when they pick it (and you) out of the grill of a Ford pickup with a pair of tweezers and some Q-tips. Word is that they're sturdily built, but to me those things look like a goddamn deathtrap that makes the Yugo look like an M-1 Abrams. No way in hell could you get me to drive around in one of those (my knees probably wouldn't fit beneath the steering wheel anyway). Unless you're under 5'2" and are thoroughly convinced that you're gonna live forever, I'd browse right on past these babies.

It wasn't awful. It wasn't even quite boring. But it was often just an ass-hair away from it, and that's not what I call a good return on two hour and ten dollar investment. Ultimately, the movie is just like the vehicles they so transparently hawk - they may come in a cute little package, but there's not really that much under the hood and even less in the trunk.

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originally posted: 06/15/03 18:18:43
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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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