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The Italian Job (2003)

tn_italianjobcountdownlogoTHE ITALIAN JOB circa 2003 is a standard issue studio ensemble heist movie, and a really enjoyable one. The director of FRIDAY and the writers of DEEP BLUE SEA put together a good group of likable actors to play the team of expert thieves, they came up with some clever gimmicks for an elaborate heist, and they executed it well with good pacing, light humor, a sense of fun but also a reasonable enough sense of danger. So it’s closer to OCEAN’S 11 where they obviously know what they’re doing but have to put in some elbow grease than OCEAN’S PART 13 where they seem to have super powers and can do absolutely anything at a moment’s notice with no trouble at all.

mp_italianjobI can’t explain the premise without spoiling the opening heist sequence, so if you haven’t seen it then, as the devil worshippers like to say, do as thou wilt. Donald Sutherland is pulling O.L.J. (One Last Job) with his team in Venice. He’s handing the reins over to his planning protegee Mark Wahlberg. But Edward Norton (movie Hulk #2) betrays them and takes off with the gold. So to my surprise Norton is the bad guy who they’re trying to steal from in most of the movie. You don’t get to see it too often, but he’s real good at playing an asshole. I have no guesses as to why. I would also like to note that he has a mustache in this movie. And I like that he’s just called “Steve.” No big villain name, just Steve.

There are different ways to structure a heist picture. You can just throw us into the job without us knowing how it’s gonna go down, so we have to watch and learn. Or of course you can show the whole planning and preparation, the recruiting of the team and equipment, the casing-of-joints and dry runs, setting up expectations and suspense for the audience. THE ITALIAN JOB remake goes for the good ol’ Best of Both Worlds approach, starting with a job in progress, then doing the preparation for a second heist followed by a monkeywrench that causes them to change the plan so that now we are partially but not fully in the dark about what they’ll do. This is one of those classic structures where if you execute it well it probly won’t matter that we’ve seen this type of thing before. Surprise us if you can but mostly just play the tune well, keep the rhythm section tight and don’t go overboard on the solos or the between-songs stage banter.

The team includes Wahlberg (planner and troubleshooter – kind of like Parker I guess), Jason Statham (getaway driver), Seth Green (nerdy computer genius), Mos Def (demolitions expert), and Charlize Theron (daughter of Donald Sutherland who cracks safes for police and security firms but is convinced to become a crook to get revenge on that asshole with the mustache).

They all get little goofy flashback backstories to explain/simplify their characters. For example Wahlberg started stealing as a little kid when he made a plan to steal from the school bully. Kinda dumb, but kinda funny. The only real groaner for me is some cutesy dialogue where Sutherland and later Wahlberg have an abbreviation for what “fine” stands for. If you say you’re fine it really means freaked out, something something. I would not want to be on a team led by a guy who makes up corny shit like that.

This team leans a little heavy on the eccentric nerds, having only Wahlberg and Statham to balance out Green and Def. But it works. Def is doing his usual mumbly nerd character, but a much less annoying version than in 16 BLOCKS. I thought he was funny in the scene where he couldn’t stop staring at Wahlberg’s Boo Yaa Tribe sized explosives supplier.

A reoccuring joke with the Seth Green character is that supposedly he invented Napster but his roommate stole it from him while he was asleep. I think the dude who invented Napster in real life has a cameo as himself in a flashback. You know how people love those computer programmer cameos. I guess that’s gonna be one of those references that won’t make a whole lot of sense if any future generations still watch this movie. Napster was an early file sharing program that really popularized and profited from music piracy, but got shut down because of updated copyright legislation I think? I guess I don’t totally know what it was either. If you are reading this in the future and don’t know what “Napster” means then I guess look it up on Wikipedia. If you are reading this in the future and don’t know what “Wikipedia” means then I don’t know what to tell you, but thank you for still reading my old timey reviews even after I’m sure new reviewing technology has been invented. Also I gotta say I’m surprised that the remake of THE ITALIAN JOB is still being studied in the future. Have you considered maybe taking a look at something more historically important like STONE COLD or BLADE? But I enjoyed it so I’m not gonna complain. Good for you digging into those academic nooks and crannies. I’m proud of you guys.

hobbitcarThe most memorable gimmick of course is the fleet of Mini Coopers that are used in the robbery. They’re chosen for their size, because they can drive indoors, on sidewalks or in sewers, but they look much cooler than today’s Hobbit Cars. They still have to soup up the Coopers to handle the amount of gold they’re gonna be carrying, so that excuses any of the unrealistic stunts they pull off with them.

Although in a supporting role Statham’s character Handsome Rob is pretty close to a prototypical Statham action movie hero, minus the martial arts. Like his characters in DEATH RACE, the three TRANSPORTERS and the two CRANKS, his expertise is driving. He’s also a lady’s man (no hints at him being gay like in the TRANSPORTERs) which relates to THE EXPENDABLES, at least in the draft of the script I read.

In the opening “Italian Job” that the title refers to Handsome Rob gets to do the getaway driving. But since it’s Venice he has to drive a boat instead of a car. They got all your favorite car crashes in there, except with boats. I’m surprised they didn’t knock over a fruit raft or crash into two scuba divers carrying a sheet of glass. Green is impressed by Handsome Rob’s boat skills and compares him to Don Johnson.

But in the movie’s main heist I have to say Handsome Rob gets sort of disrespected. Here is this highly skilled getaway driver, sort of a Kowalski type folk hero and sex symbol due to a multi-state police chase he did just for fun… but his part in this job is the same as everybody else. He drives a Mini Cooper, but so do Wahlberg and Theron. We know Theron can drive one of those things like crazy because she owns one and likes to tear through traffic and do high speed parallel parking maneuvers while going to and from work. And Wahlberg can do it just because he’s a renaissance man, shitty rapper turned underwear model turned Academy Award nominated actor. Everybody else gets to do their own individual thing, but poor Handsome Rob has to share the glory of driving sideways in a sewer pipe with two better looking, more award winning actors.

(By the way, I’m surprised they were able to practice driving in the L.A. river basin. You’d think somebody would keep an eye on that thing for trespassers, especially after T2.)

I’ve always wondered about those specialties anyway. In these type of movies they have the computer expert, I’m sure he’s always gonna be needed for getting past alarms and security cameras. But the explosives guy? I don’t know. They have Charlize to get into the safe. You’d think sometimes they’d plan a more subtle robbery where they don’t gotta blow anything up. And then what’s he gonna do? Is he gonna be offended that he doesn’t get to do anything? Is he gonna try to talk you into some unnecessary explosion just so he can get his cut? Or with this guy you never know, he might just be all mopey and try to guilt you into cutting him in just for being a team member, even if he sits that one out. I don’t know what the protocol is. Maybe there’s some kind of agreement in place.

F. Gary Gray has never been a great director, but he’s usually a pretty good one. This might be his best other than FRIDAY. All the action with cars and helicopter chases and everything is pretty clear and exciting. I noticed some quick cuts that were used in an interesting way instead of a distracting one. There are a couple unimportant details thrown on for spice but they go by real quick, no lingering, just exactly as long as you need to see them. One example is when Mos Def is setting off some explosions on Hollywood Boulevard, there’s a shot of a dude dressed as Spider-man making a run for it. A little later there’s a badass-walking-away-from-explosion shot for Franky G (a secondary Italian Job team member, like Cappadonna in Wu-Tang Clan) but it’s real quick instead of the usual simmering slo-mo, as if to admit that this isn’t very important but Gray wanted to take a second to include it.

The only reason I never watched this before was because I never got around to watching the original. I’ll still have to do that, but I’m glad I gave in and watched this. This is good mainstream Hollywood entertainment. I’d like to see more like this.

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VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2010 at 5:10 pm and is filed under Action, Reviews, Thriller. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

53 Responses to “The Italian Job (2003)”

  1. HATED this movie!!

    Not because it was awful, but because it was mediocre step after step. Beginning with Norton…2003 would have to be the height of the moviegoing public’s adoration for him, due to American History X and Fight Club and suchandsuch, so casting him as the villain in a heist picture comes with a high expectations tag. Sure, he’s fine at playing a smarmy wimp who gets brutally killed offscreen (we have to consider the children), but don’t tell me he couldn’tve made a much more threatening and compelling villain if the script raised the bar at all above 5.

    And the same goes for every actor, down the line…glad you mentioned Statham’s backseat driving in the final heist and his lack of martial arts, because I sure noticed those things in the wake of the less-good-but-more-enjoyable-in-the-action-department Transporter. The napster reference was dated at the time, and plays even worse now. Mark Wahlberg’s character is expectedly bland, but beyond that, his relationship with Donald Sutherland, which is the whole impetus for the revenge/heist of the 2nd and 3rd acts, is limited to one or two scenes drowning in cliches (cmon I know you groaned a bit at their little “play fighting” riff).

    The constant barrage of misfired jokes undercut the intensity and stakes of the action/drama, not unlike movies like Bad Boys 2. Like in Bay’s movies, the presence of the mini coopers was more of a calculated marketing decision than one that brought some nifty new action to the table. The movie’s light as a feather without a brain in its head, making it hard to really give a shit whether Norton gets his commupance.

    Since Friday, F. Gary Gray has just been a company man, kinda like Justin Lin making those Fast/Furious movies. Never reaching very far and never catastrophically failing because of it. Personally, I was surprised/impressed with Law Abiding Citizen, because in Gerard Butler there was a fragment of an interesting character, and the mystery and stakes behind the blitzkrieg action sequences kept it involving. Here, its just dumb, empty, fast and forgettable.

    But thats just me.

  2. Vern – I prefer the Michael Caine original (awesome ending, awesome legendary one-liner), but yeah the remake is a pretty fun if not I suppose essential heist picture.

    Jason STatham, I still call him our contemporary Charles Bronson. Yes he’s more known (and sells tickets) for kicking people, but the dude has a real Brosnan-reminding badass natural charisma to him. Check out THE BANK JOB sometime, a good example of this point.

    Also notice Statham is starring in the MR. MAJESTYK remake. Sorry Mr. Majestyk.

    I’m surprised you also didn’t mention that legendary beef Edward Norton had with Paramount because the Mountain used some contract loophole or something to force Norton to play the part against his will, and apparently he wasn’t happy to say the least.

    There was a story how during shooting, the Paramount chief exec at the time tried to make amends and smooth this shit over by buying a Ferrari/Porsche for Norton as the studio’s sign of gratitude.

    Norton returned the car the next day. Of course me I would have taken that car, because hey one gotta get something out of this shit, right?

  3. Patrick Newman – A respected actor playing the villain in a popcorn genre movie? Why NEVER!!!

  4. I have to agree with Patrick. I hated every mediocre moment of this movie.

  5. RRA-

    I never criticized the idea that Norton was playing the villain in a popcorn genre movie. I criticized the fact that he played a shitty villain. Not intimidating or even very competent, sexually frustrated, weak, but not in a particularly fascinating way.

    But i know, it’s not supposed to be Hamlet.

    (:

  6. Patrick – considering the circumstances of his employment which I mentioned above, is it really a surprise in retrospect?

  7. Yes, I understand that most (read: all) people didn’t dig on Mos Def’s style of talking in 16 Blocks. But I give a shit; I DID find it a bit annoying, but I liked it overall. Actually, I like that movie more than most. Just two weeks ago, I spent $9.99 on one of those 4-packs of movies (and yes, Vern, I have the Seagal one, which is some great shit – Above the Law, Under Siege, Fire Down Below. . .and The Glimmer Man, guess you gotta take some bad with the great) of Bruce. The Whole Nine Yards (which I actually liked), The Last Boy Scout (which I saw four times in the theater when I was a junior in high school), Last Man Standing (which I know you weren’t a huge fan of but I love cause it was awesome to see Walter Hill indulge his inner John Woo – I mean, c’mon, that ten-second scene where Bruce is loading all his clips and he’s got like, fucking fifty of ’em, that was badass, not to mention when he unloaded all of ’em into faceless random bad guys, love it). . .and 16 Blocks. Not the best of his flicks, but enjoyable ones, for sure. I watched 16B just the other day and was surprised how much I liked it, even four years later. Richard Donner’s a cat who doesn’t get the love he deserves from the geek community, I feel. This is a man who can shoot the everloving shit out of an action scene. One of the last old pros out there – I wish he made movies more often. Then again, I could say that about Walter Hill too. Even if he did make Undisputed. Bottom line is no one else can say that they made Extreme Prejudice.

  8. Are they really doing a MR. MAJESTYK remake, or are you confusing it with THE MECHANIC? (IMDb says he’s also doing a remake of THE KILLER ELITE).

  9. Vern – SHIT you’re right, its actually THE MECHANIC. I get my 70s Brosnan actioneers mixed up sometimes.

    BTW, why in the world would anyone bother with remaking a forgotten (for good reason) slicker like KILLER ELITE? Hell I’m sure Peckinpah dranks liquor store’s worth of contents to forget he made that shit.

  10. THE KILLER ELITE is the type of movie that should be remade. I don’t think it’s terrible, but I don’t think it is good but should be a lot better considering the people involved. Shit, that movie has Mako and Burt Young to back up Caan and Duval.
    There is a good idea in there with the old classic best friend betrays a badass and he works his way back from horrible injury to get some payback story. If a bunch of awesome people made an average movie a bunch of pretty good people can make a good one?

  11. marlow – Sure why not?

  12. I liked this movie. It’s a good story, well made.

    As for remakes, I think there are two instances when I actually *support* remakes for two types of movies:

    1. Movies that had strong premise, but underwhelming execution.

    2. Movies that were simply done on a different era, and would look and feel completely different if made today.

    …Actually I just watched Westworld earlier this week. Good movie, great premise. I would be interested in seeing a remake of that, but they they would only need to keep the initial premise and the character dynamic of the two heroes. Everything else could be re-written. They could throw out the whole western town and cowboy villain if they wanted. Neither is necessary for the concept to work, and it would be hard to compete with Brynner’s performance, so better not even try.

    The thing is, Westworld is a good movie with several memorable elements. But I think you could make a *great* movie out of the same premise, and I wouldn’t mind it if someone tried. The original Westworld kind of just went half way to what it could have achieved. Such a wonderful concept could be pushed a lot further.

  13. Here’s evidence of a WESTWORLD remake that almost happened in 2002:

    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,217981,00.html

    warning: it also mentions a much more promising movie that you’ll wish had happened.

  14. I had no idea that project was in development at that time. The idea of Arnie playing the cowboy robot is funny, because while watching Westworld I kept on thinking that Brynner’s role might have been an inspiration for Cameron. Similarities were very striking. Which is also a reason why it makes no sense for Arnie to play that role – He already kind of has done it, three times.

    But just think of what for example Paul Verhoeven could make out of Westworld…

  15. Ace Mac Ashbrook

    August 13th, 2010 at 2:02 am

    Just think what Paul Verhoeven would have done with Conan 3… the stuff of dreams.

  16. Italian Hot Artichoke Dip for Festive Friday!…

    I liked your entry and I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog! JB…

  17. You guys are all crazy, THE KILLER ELITE is among Peckinpah’s best!
    It has a great beginning with a fucked-up Caan, a great “assemble the team and go on a mission” shit, and a fantastic ending with ninjas and samurai swords and machine guys and aircraft carriers.
    Come on, they’re just not making the movies like this anymore – THE KILLER ELITE should be treasured and appreciated right next to BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA. Like any Peckinpah movie, it only should be watched in widescreen, though.
    Hell, even a widescreen version of OSTERMAN’S WEEKEND is very watchable if you can find it.

  18. Also guys, have you seen any of the original ITALIAN JOB’s director Peter Collinson other movies? This guy is one bad ass filmatist and all his movies are worth watching, OPEN SEASON and YOU CAN’T WIN ‘EM ALL (my favorite war movie) especially.

  19. Now that I think about, Vern could have killed two birds with one stone if he had not just reviewed the crazy (not necessarily in a good way) Adam Sandler Remake of “The Longest Yard” (Which features Terry Crews and Stone Cold Steve Austin) and then the Guy Ritchie produced brit version “Mean Machine”, which features Jason Statham.

  20. I hated this movie too. But I also hated the two OCEAN’S movies I saw (11 and 13). I hate all these movies where criminals are all squeaky clean and joke around like they’re the Scooby-Doo kids or something. Like they just had good grades in crime school and got scholarships to crime college and their parents are so proud they got recruited right out of school to a crime syndicate with a good dental plan.

    I think if the moral centre of your movie is you-stole-from-me-that-which-I-was-stealing-from-another-guy-you-cheater you need to make the tone of the movie some sort of gritty Jean-Pierre Melville type movie to justify the silly hypocrisy of being a ruthless criminal with a code.

    In this movie the main crew were so wimpy they seemed like a bunch of kids pouting about how Edward Norton cheated at dodgeball and they were going to get him back by giving him a wedgie or putting worms in his lunchbox or something.

    And I would love to see that WESTWORLD remake.

  21. Goddamn I love Jason Statham. Didn’t like this one at all.

    Did a little Statham marathon a month or two back, allow me to shill…………

    http://stuntcockmike.weebly.com/seven-days-of-statham.html

    http://stuntcockmike.weebly.com/another-seven-days-of-statham.html

  22. tuukka – Funny enough Michael Crichton (writer/director of WESTWORLD) remade it himself in book form many years later. It was called JURASSIC PARK.

    I liked how WESTWORLD, without calling it as such, predicted the computer virus a good decade before it came along.

  23. Vern, I’m skipping down here for a quick comment before finishing the review, but Mark Whalberg in this movie is no goddamn Parker.

    Parker is a (mostly) amoral, lethal, rough, coldblooded operator. Whalberg is a babyfaced, polite, nonviolent, finesse, pussy thief.

    That is all.

  24. Ok just finished the review.

    I gotta agree with Vern on this, well done typical Hollywood. I’ve always been a sucker for the ‘assemble a crack team, show them doing their thing, pull of a slick job’ setup for a film, and this one does it real good.

    Whalberg is charming enough as the leader, Norton is a slimy greaseball douche and Charlize is looking her absolute, mind bending sexiest.

    You’re right about Sutherland though, that goofy acronym bullshit we could’ve done without.

  25. Jareth Cutestory

    August 13th, 2010 at 7:36 am

    I’ve never bought this idea that Norton is the best actor of his generation. He’s just John Cussack with better opportunities and a pissy attitude.

    But I like him in this film. I think he’s one moustache twirl away from being Snidely Whiplash most of the time.

    Also, Statham showed more range than I thought possible in THE BANK JOB, which is sort of the sober sibbling of THE ITALIAN JOB. Nothing special, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that he’s not just a lunkhead.

  26. Funny that you compare Norton with Cusack, because in Germany they are regularly dubbed by the same voice actor.
    OH SHIT, I just realized That Arnie and Sly share the same German voice actor too, so I guess Arnie will have a different voice in The Expendables.

  27. Arnie doesn’t do his own German voice? That makes me sad.

  28. I also wanna mention that I saw a few days ago, while flipping through the channels, suddenly Jason Statham sitting on a couch in a MTV studio. (I guess Expendables had its German premiere that week) And when he is not trying to act like a though motherfucker, like in his movies, he seems to be a very likable, charming and even funny person.
    It gave me a serious flashback to a few years ago, when Michelle Rodriguez made promotion for Fast & Furious on another German show (although I didn’t develope a celebrity crush on Statham, like I did on Rodriguez that day). To be honest, I would love to see both Rodriguez and Statham together in a RomCom. I think they could definitely pull it off.

    And no, Arnie does not voice himself, but Thomas Danneberg, the guy who voices him in Germany, makes him sound like a much better actor.
    (Trivia about Danneberg: Besides Arnie & Sly, he is also the German voice of Dan Aykroyd, John Cleese, John Travolta, Nick Nolte, Dennis Quaid, Terence Hill, Rutger Hauer, Michael York, Michael Madsen and Christopher Lambert and he is talented enough to gave each one of them their own speech pattern. I think they COULD try to let him speak Arnie and Sly at the same time, but they most likely won’t.)

  29. I never saw this movie, but 2003 was a pretty crappy year for movies from what I remember, or maybe I’m just bitter because 2003 was a crappy year for me personally

    hey tuukka I’ve long wanted them to make a remake of Westworld, but I doubt it will happen, they’ve been trying to for years

  30. Jareth Cutestory

    August 13th, 2010 at 8:15 am

    On my bucket list: hear the German-dubbed version of Cage’s performance in WICKER MAN.

  31. RRA: I’m cool with Statham remaking THE MECHANIC. Seems right up his alley. But I’m glad he’s not remaking my namesake. I can’t really see him as a melon farmer, can you? Maybe if they set it in the STRAW DOGS-ian English countryside he could pull it off, but otherwise it’s really more of a Danny Trejo role.

  32. Well 2003 was a pretty good year for me personally (though it had some down (natch, I was 16)), and I would agree it was a pretty crappy year for movies, at least major summer releases. That summer was stuffed with underperforming, unnecessary sequels (TOMB RAIDER 2, CHARLIE’S ANGELS 2*, DUMB AND DUMBERER etc. ad nauseum) , overperforming unnecessary sequels (BAD BOYS 2, TERMINATOR 3, 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS) and stuff like EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN (which I quite liked personally, but still, lets not go nuts), BRUCE ALMIGHTY and S.W.A.T. Of course there was some good stuff that year, but the quantity and profile of utter crap that year was certainly notable.

    *I know Vern would disagree with me on this one, and maybe some of you guys too but seriously, no thanks

  33. PacmanFever- Thank you for your post. As I was reading this review, I remembered that I had seen this (The Itallian Job 2003) in the theater; but I wasn’t exactly sure why. Now it all makes sense. In the face of so many bad films, this one must have looked worthwhile.

    Good review Vern. I totally agree with you. It’s big slick Hollywood, filled with some good, some bad, but more good than bad. If it were a porno and this was Hustler I’d give it a half-erect.

  34. My husband and I both love this movie, mostly for Statham’s performance. Also, what Bob Vila said about heist movies assembling teams, etc.

    I liked that Norton wasn’t a super-villian but more of a schmuck who knew how to pull a double-cross. I know this may sound silly to some, but I think it’s more realistic. Most criminals are probably lucky schmucks who happen to know when to take an opportunity when they see it and smart enough to set it up. Somtimes it’s nice to see that portrayed instead of someone seethingly intelligent, demented, or evil.

    Seth Green’s “dubbing” of Statham hitting on the cable repairwoman was amusing, too.

  35. “The Italian Job” starring Mark Wahlberg, without Noel Coward. Yuck.

    Glad you liked it Vern, but this is the kind of thing that I’d refuse to pay money to see on principle.

  36. This was a fine heist movie, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the original. Maybe if Statham had been the lead in it it could have gotten closer to that. Also, the epilogue to the remake seems really…I dunno…off to me for some reason. What they’re showing the characters do with the money seems fine, but the music and the tone of Wahlberg voice just doesn’t seem triumphant enough.

  37. Bob – of course he’s not like Parker, I just meant he has a similar role on the team. True, Parker doesn’t always come up with the plan, but he often reworks their plan to make it work better. Both characters do the troubleshooting when things go wrong.

    But maybe I should’ve said Hannibal.

  38. Vern — if you haven’t seen it, you owe it to yourself to watch a much better “Job” film with Jason Statham — THE BANK JOB. It’s in no way related to this generic bullshit, and is actually quite fantastic: a scary, carefully crafted thriller set to great effect in the 70s. It’s name and advertising are terrible and misleading but its one of my favorite recent films.

  39. Vern,

    Point taken. I’m just finishing up reading all the Parker novels, and find myself being weirdly protective of him. The two characters definitely are similar in that they’re thieves who are the unquestioned leader of their teams, but Hannibal does seem more apt a comparison.

    To the people saying the new Italian Job doesn’t hold up to the original, what’s new about that? They wouldn’t have ever remade the film if the original wasn’t a classic, and the odds of churning out another classic just aren’t in the remakers favor.

    Which other heist remakes shit the comparative bed?

    I can think of two, Thomas Crown Affair and Taking of Pelham 123.

  40. I could’ve sworn I reviewed THE BANK JOB, but I guess not. I think I watched it based on recommendations around here, and yes, I enjoyed it. A nice old school caper movie.

    I agree that the advertising was bad because it made such a big deal about it being a true story, so then when I read about it and it had almost nothing to do with a true story it was unnecessarily disappointing.

  41. ANoniMouse – I liked that one detail about the villain having no original ideas of what to do with that money so he simply went out and bought the shit his screwed crew members were wishing for. That’s good dickery.

    Stu – I don’t know if Vern would like the original ITALIAN JOB, he might consider it too jokey or whatever. Me I thought it was a good mix of tight caperism with some camp humor. At the least, Mark Whalberg or Michael Caine? That’s not exactly a rhetorical choice.

    Bob Villa – I like both movies, just saying there is something more memorable about the original’s ending. That one particular line, and Mikey fucking Caine.

    Vern – The only thing true to that BANK JOB, if I remember right, was that bit about the police coming upon the robbers’ radio transmission and having to drive all around all the London banks to try to catch them. Also that one robbers’ quip: “Money may be your God, but its not mine so I’m fucking off.”

    Well Mr. Robber, thats a kickass line. Good job.

  42. RRA- I dunno, Vern enjoyed stuff like TROPIC THUNDER, which was pretty jokey but also meant to be an action movie of a sort. I think in it Caine is more seasoned and smart than badass, but he still has some tough guy bits like coming out of prison at the start of the movie and later taking a big beating just because he had the audacity to go propose his plan to the boss, a man who’ll have someone killed just to allow him to leave the prison to go to their funeral as a cover for a face to face meeting.

  43. Stu – I think I had in mind more the Benny Hill stuff, but yeah you might be right.

    The ending is awesome, regardless. Vern will dig that shit yo.

  44. They just substitute Benny Hill wanting to feel up fat girls with Seth Green wanting blow girls’ clothes off with bigass music speakers. I also like Caine’s response to the Mafia’s threats as promising that Noel Coward will see to it all the italian immigrants back in the UK will suffer, and it seems like an actually plausible threat.

  45. Vern — looked for a review before I posted, but maybe I missed it so who knows. I didn’t actually mind them milking the based-on-something-sort-of-like-a-part-of-something-that-happened-somewhere-at-one-point angle; I was more dissapointed in the unforgivably generic trailers and misleading box art ( http://www.bluraywire.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/the-bank-job.jpg ) ( http://officialmoviereviews.com/wp-content/gallery/dvd-cover-art/The_Bank_Job.jpg ) which not only has absolutely nothing of interest going on, but seems to be deliberately vague in an effort to trick people into thinking it’s A) a movie set in modern times B) an action movie and C) A sequel to THE ITALIAN JOB based on its title.

    It drives me mad when DVD art deliberately tries to hide the uniqueness of films in an effort to convince people who won’t like the film anyway to watch it (Im a particular fan of the box art for Brad Anderson’s excellent HAPPY ACCIDENTS, a weird indy sci-fi dramedy about insanity and time travel which has this gem of a cover: http://www.niteflyr.com/Images/Happy_Accidents.jpg ) .

    Admittedly, the theatrical poster for BANK JOB has a great 70s vibe to it:

    http://filmzee.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/03/the-bank-job-movie-poster-750w.jpg

    but after it tanked in theaters I think they decided their best bet was to try and get people to think there was nothing unique or special about it in any way. Fie on that, I say! Let your freak flag fly, Statham!

  46. I remember the talk about them making a King Conan film. The older Arnie gets the more awesome that would be.

  47. Speaking of which, and CJ Holden correct if I’m wrong buddy, but has Arnold ever done a movie which exploited his Germaness?

    Usually if his heavy accent is ever addressed, they use brief exposition of how he came from the Deutchland all that, nothing more than to shut up people with such concerns.

    To my knowledge there were two movies never produced which he was attached to at one point or another which could have exploited that German background. One was Joel Silver’s forever doomed pet project SGT. ROCK which Arnold wanted to do with his buddies Sly and Willis.

    The other was some Randall Wallace (BRAVEHEART writer) war drama about Arnold as a Nazi officer in the Alps in the last days of the war. That last one went up in smoke when Arnold went into politics.

    Really its interesting how you would think a bonafide German thing would have hooked around Arnold by then like any of those samurai movies to Japanese or European medieval for those actors, etc.

    Unless one counts CONAN as purely Nietzche-boner.

  48. Austrian, dude.

  49. I think the only time they seriously mentioned Arnie’s real life nationality was in “Kindergarten Cop”, where his partner asked him about his accent and he stated he is from Austria.

  50. japanese title for this movie is “Mini mini daisakusen” (ミニミニ大作戦), which means THE GREAT MINI MINI MISSION (or HEIST).

    haven’t done a japanese title in a while, but i thought this one warranted it.

    i thought this movie was pretty bland and forgettable. the most notable things i guess were that i thought ed norton’s bad-guy ‘tache was hilarious, and it reminded me how charming jason statham can be when he talks with his natural east london accent (he seems to lose a degree of his natural charisma in a lot of his action-guy movies where he tones down his accent – or does a terrible american one for no reason like in THE ONE).

  51. The original Paul

    November 7th, 2010 at 5:52 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation for “The Bank Job” everyone. Definitely the best Statham movie I’ve seen since “Lock, Stock”. David Suchet plays a creepy little villain, doesn’t he? Much better than his turn in “Executive Decision”. Damn, he was almost unrecognizable in it.

    (And no, I still haven’t seen “The Italian Job” [remake]. The day I pay money to see a bad American remake of a Michael Caine / Noel Coward classic is the day you guys know I’ve finally been replaced by a spambot.)

  52. Damn.. I was gonna call THE BANK JOB one of the top ten films of 1971, but it turns out 1971 was a really fucking good year for film. Instead I’ll just have to call it a really fantastic period film which expertly ties socio-cultural issues into a tense heist plot that plays surprisingly rough. Sadly, its saddled with a title and box art which are as punishingly generic as the studio suits could possibly come up with.

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