Published on May 27th, 2003 | by Erich Becker0
Review: The Italian Job
Forget what you may have heard in the press about The Italian Job before it was released and go into it with a clear mind. You will find that you have a far more enjoyable experience when you don’t let the media preconceptions influence your judgment on this great film. In the same vein of Ocean’s 11 and Guy Ritchie’s excellent Snatch, The Italian Job has you following the bad guys as they complete an incredible score and use all of the high tech gadgets available to get it done while sparing us from the cerebral melodrama and forced comedy. The Job is a balls-out fun movie that showcases the strengths of its cast and knowing its target audience to a “t”.
The movie starts off with a big job being pulled up by a crew of crooks consisting of Charlie (Mark Wahlberg), Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), Lyle (Seth Green), Steve (Edward Norton), Left Ear (Mos Def), and leader John Bridger (Donald Sutherland). As you have seen, no doubt, in the trailers Edward Norton’s character pulls a double cross on the rest of the crew and leaves Bridger dead and the rest of the crew looking to get back what is rightfully theirs.
The great thing about the film is everyone is just who you would expect. Seth Green’s Lyle is a computer genius and the “tech” guy on the squad whose purpose is to map out the plan and play havoc with Los Angeles’ traffic system. Mr. Bad Ass himself, Jason Statham, is just the character you would expect. With the driving skills he learned in last fall’s The Transporter firmly intact he doesn’t wrestle anyone in grease this time, but the sure does whoop some ass. Mark Wahlberg’s Charlie is the cool, calm leader of the group after Bridger is killed and keeps everyone working even with the revenge flowing through their veins to get back at Norton’s shifty Steve. No one wants revenge more than Charlize Theron’s Stella who looks stellar (excuse me) and plays the part of the abandoned daughter very, very well.
The style of the movie is its highest point. With cool, easy camera transitions you hardly ever feel a scene has ended before you are thrown into a new one. Some of them are clearly “throwbacks” (Hollywood for ripped-off) of other movies, and TV shows, but they work well in the film. A particular favorite is the transition from Europe to LA with just a swipe of the sky by the camera. The movie never lets you go after it begins and before you know it the highly publicized Mini chase scene is on the screen and the final double cross by the rest of the team as they steal back the gold.
Comedy is provide by, mostly, Seth Green who presents a very, very funny anecdote about the true origins of Napster and the film revisits this for all its comedy worth throughout the film but it never seems to get old. Even a surprise cameo by Shawn Fanning brings the joke to fruition. There is something about Seth Green that enables him to bring life to even the dullest of the dull, Greg the Bunny anyone?
The film does suffer through a few problems that do bring you back down to earth, but nothing too serious that you will detour your mind away from all the fun you are having while tuning into this 100 minute joyride. There are several times when you get those convenient plot clichés that plague so many movies these days, and other times when the movie is really slowed down from the brisk pace that you are used to by watching the first thirty minutes, but this doesn’t last long. Also the highly tacky “Hollywood” ending is, well, tacky.
All in all there isn’t much that can detract from the fun you will have while watching The Italian Job. The movie is a breath of fresh air in to a highly stale summer movie season and should succeed like other movies in the genre. Leave your brain at home and take in a truly enjoyable film that promises nothing and delivers everything you could want. Action, drama, comedy, and a light love interest equal a movie you should be seeing on your much earned weekend.