Favorite

film: Gold Standard 

This “Italian Job” remake may suffer from second-generation, lowered expectations, but its cool cast and fast-paced action rev up the fun.

It takes Charlie a year, but he finally tracks Steve to Los Angeles, where he’s living under an assumed name and fencing the gold bullion a bar or two at a time. Tracking down the surviving members of his old team, Charlie sets in motion a cleverly complicated revenge. Central to Charlie’s plot is new team member Stella (Charlize Theron), the daughter of the late John Bridger (Sutherland), she has a personal stake in the con as well.

“The Italian Job” is directed by F. Gary Gray, and in the spirit of fair play, I must give credit where credit is due. After sitting through the woefully uneven, Gray-helmed, Vin Diesel cop drama “A Man Apart,” imagine how surprised I was by the directing talent on display here. It’s hard to believe the same man directed the shiny, snappy “Italian Job.” In truth, it’s hard to believe they were filmed on the same planet. Only time will tell if Gray is one of those directors who’s helpless when handed a bad script but handily rises to the challenge when presented with a good one.

The script here (by Neal Purvis, Robert Wade, Donna and Wayne Powers, from Troy Kennedy-Martin’s original) is quite good for an updated rework. Not only satisfyingly complicated without resorting to last-minute, outlandish “twists,” the movie’s dialogue is crisp and hip without being arch or self-conscious.

The script actually seems to spur on both Gray and his cast, especially Wahlberg, who carries himself through the movie with a new, self-possessed confidence. (Which is particularly amazing considering the drubbing he got for his performance in the abysmal “The Truth About Charlie.”)

Adding to the fast-paced fun are two bravura action set-pieces that bookend “The Italian Job”: a speedboat chase through the canals of Venice following the movie’s opening gold heist, and the protracted, heart-pounding, “how-did-they-do-that?” climactic rush-hour car chase through Los Angeles involving a fleet of Mini Coopers, armored cars, motorcycles, a helicopter, a subway train and an assortment of innocent civilian drivers. Gray imbues these scenes with palpable pleasure, bringing a wit and bounce to the action scenes in “The Italian Job” that complements both the friendly banter among conspirators and the menacing tug-of-words between Charlie and Steve.

Now, no one will confuse “The Italian Job” for a work of art, but its craftsmanship is unmistakable and exhilarating. Slick, quick and light on its feet, this movie makes for some cool fun on a summer evening. *** S





Favorite

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

  • Re: InLight Richmond Announces 2017 Location

    • Hello all viewer online herpes has cure but doctor said herpes has no cure until…

    • on July 26, 2017
  • Re: InLight Richmond Announces 2017 Location

    • Hello all viewer online herpes has cure but doctor said herpes has no cure until…

    • on July 26, 2017
  • Re: Architecture Review: The New Maggie Walker Statue Took Awhile, but Should Become a Much-Needed Oasis

    • I agree and have been there three times already. My only criticism is there is…

    • on July 24, 2017
  • More »
  • More by Maribeth Brewster

    • Fear Factor

      Fear Factor

      Meg Ryan sheds her sweetheart image — and her clothing — in the erotic thriller, “In the Cut.”
      • Nov 5, 2003
    • The Pros of Cons

      The Pros of Cons

      Sir Ridley Scott crafts a compelling and complex comic-drama that cleverly manipulates the audience.
      • Sep 17, 2003
    • Sexy Dip in the Gene Pool

      If you like mysteries that unfold with slow, seductive deliberateness, then get ready to dive into “Swimming Pool.”
      • Aug 6, 2003
    • More »

    Copyright © 2017 Style Weekly
    Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
    All rights reserved
    Powered by Foundation