Saturday, May 31, 2003

The Italian Job (IMDB) (Netflix)
One effect of BMW's extremely successful reintroduction of the Mini Cooper is a remake of the the 1969 caper flick of the same name. In the original, Michael Caine and Noel Coward were featured, here we get Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron and friends trying to settle a very personal score with Edward Norton, who double-crossed them in Italy. They've traced him to Los Angeles, where most of the action takes place.

This is a summer movie that suffers in comparison to this summer's action flicks like Matrix: Reloaded and X-Men, or even the more comparable Ocean's Eleven; it lacks the intensity and ambition of the first two, and the stylishness of the latter film. Almost everything that happens early on is an obvious set-up for use later on, the dialogue isn't sufficiently authentic for B-List actors like Wahlberg to sell, and faithful reader Peggy Folz felt that even Norton's performance was flat. The action scenes, which one would think were the point, are nothing to write home about. Fortunately, the supporting cast of Seth Green, Mos Def and Jason "The Transporter" Stathan (apparently already typecast as a wheelman) fare better, providing the comic relief and all the charm.

The hormonally flooded teenage girls in the front row liked it, gearheads will have fun watching the Minis cavort through and under L.A., and there are some funny moments, but I'm guessing that the stronger play is to track down the original.