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The Italian Job

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: The Italian Job

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton
Director: F. Gary Gray
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 103 Minutes
Release Date: May 2003
Genres: Action, Thriller

*Also starring: Charlize Theron, Mos Def, Christina Cabot, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Donald Sutherland, Simon Rhee

Review by Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

There's a high-stakes heist, a deadly double-cross, missing gold, a gaggle of guys and one gal. How many times have you seen this kind of movie? Dozens, perhaps? This lackluster remake of Michael Caine's jaunty 1969 comic caper is almost a complete waste of time.

Mark Wahlberg stars as a criminal mastermind who's taking over for retiring Donald Sutherland after one last heist, the titular Italian job. Inevitably, there's a glitch, not in the robbery but in the getaway through the Austrian Alps, as one of the gang gets greedy. But you saw all this in the Coming Attractions and commercials, right? Anyway, when duplicitous Edward Norton gets nasty, grabbing $35 million in gold bullion, a revenge scheme is inevitable. The only spark of originality propels the two chase sequences: the first using speedboats through the twisting canals of Venice and the second involving a trio of pint-sized BMW Mini Coopers - red, white and blue - maneuvering through traffic gridlock in Los Angeles with a sinister black helicopter in dogged pursuit. Its resemblance to a video-game is surely not coincidental.

Director F. Gary Gray ("A Man Apart") and his clich‚-prone screenwriters (husband-and-wife team: Wayne and Donna Powers) seem merely to be going through the methodical motions. As a result, Edward Norton, Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron, who plays Sutherland's safe-cracking daughter, deliver the most bland, nondescript, uninteresting performances of their respective careers, while Seth Green, Mos Def and Jason Statham score in somewhat comic supporting roles. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Italian Job" is a formulaic, forgettable 4. You've seen it all in the trailer, so why bother with this dud?

Copyright © 2003 Susan Granger

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