The Italian Job

Year: 2003
Director: F Gary Gray
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Jason Statham, Donald Sutherland, Seth Green, Mos Def
The film Edward Norton had to have – faced with being sued for breach of contract by Paramount for passing on every film they tried to have him sign for, he finally agree to this to stay out of trouble, not wanting to do it.

And it shows. His faxed-in performance is matched only by the increasingly wooden Mark Wahlberg, but at least Norton has an excuse. Since Boogie Nights the roles filled by the artist formerly known as Marky Mark have had all the depth of the advertising standups in the Cineplex lobby.

Thankfully none of it's to be taken too seriously. At the time of writing this, I hadn't seen the 1969 Michael Caine original, but always had the impression it was a bit cultish like Get Carter. But this version is unabashedly a popcorn crowd pleaser.

After pulling an ingenious job in Venice, the slimy villain of a criminal crew (Norton) double crosses them, swiping the loot and leaving them all for dead.

With help from the sultry daughter (Theron) of the (now dead) gang patriarch (Sutherland), Wahlberg's posse try to get close enough to swipe the dough back, and a pretty generic heist thriller movie takes place for them to do so, with the reworking of cars, technology, safe cracking and just enough emotional flesh in between to keep it interesting.

Charlize Theron is as sultry as ever, Jason Statham does a good job purely out of his eagerness to be an action hero, and it all works out very conveniently. If the original had any cult appeal, this is the Disney-sanctioned version, albeit undeniably fun.

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