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Gone in 60 Seconds

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Gone in 60 Seconds

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie
Director: Dominic Sena
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 119 Minutes
Release Date: June 2000
Genres: Action, Suspense

*Also starring: Scott Caan, Robert Duvall, Will Patton, Timothy Olyphant, Trevor Goddard, James Duval, Delroy Lindo, Giovanni Ribisi

Review by MrBrown
2 stars out of 4

Given the presence of Angelina Jolie--and how prominent her presence is in the film's advertising campaign--one would be led to believe that _Gone_in_Sixty_Seconds_ is the first Jerry Bruckheimer-produced actioner with a strong female presence. With Jolie, a wild child who is just as ballsy, if not more, than any male counterpart, Bruckheimer has a female star that he could run with. If only he could see it that way.

No, not even the force of nature that is Angelina can combat the rampant testosterone in _Sixty_, a reworking of the 1974 film of the same name. But that is but one way the film is typical Bruckheimer. There are all the glossy visuals and stylish cutting; there are the awkwardly forced moments of "emotion"; there is a pumped-up soundtrack scoring accordingly amped-up action scenes; there is a talented cast that is wildly overqualified to do this type of popcorn fodder. This time around, however, the surface thrills that it does deliver aren't quite enough.

Nicolas Cage stars as Randall "Memphis" Raines, a reformed car thief who is forced back into action when his younger brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) runs afoul of the evil car thief Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). In order to spare Kip's life, Memphis must steal 50 cars within 72 hours.

Of course, Memphis and his crew don't strike until the the last night, so we can have the familiar race against time finale. As such, _Gone_in_Sixty_Seconds_ doesn't start to deliver the anticipated action until well into the third act. While director Dominic Sena ably shoots and stages it with all the heavy style that one associates with a Bruckheimer production, the climactic car chase cannot erase the memory of the draggy and often tedious two acts that precede the mayhem.

The audience's interest is supposed to be held by two things during the film's first acts. First is the obligatory group of eccentric supporting players. Among Memphis' partners in grand theft auto are mentor Otto (Robert Duvall); former partner Atley (Will Patton); wisecracking buddy Donny (Chi McBride); silent muscleman the Sphinx (Vinnie Jones); ex-flame Sara, a.k.a. "Sway" (Jolie, in an absolute throwaway of a role); and Kip's gang of young techies and lunkheads (Scott Caan, James Duval, TJ Cross, and William Lee Scott). This is indeed a quirky bunch, but not necessarily a colorful one. Aside from McBride (who has some good lines), Duvall (still a commanding presence), and Jolie (alluring eye candy), the group is uninteresting at best and annoying at worst.

Second, one is supposed to be engaged by the purported emotional connections between the characters. Kip only wants to be accepted and respected by his brother; Memphis wants to prove to Sway that his leaving her was for the best. But anyone who's seen a Bruckheimer knows that pyrotechnics are his strong suit, not quiet moments--and when they do come, they are laughably heavy-handed and jarring (witness, for example, the conclusions of _Con_Air_ and _Armageddon_). Sena and writer Scott Rosenberg don't do anything to change that track record; if possible, he's managed to carve a new low with the jaw-droppingly maudlin final encounter between Memphis and the cop (Delroy Lindo, great even in this ridiculous context) who's chasing him.

Somehow, however, I get the feeling that real problems such as these will be lost on the casual viewer. The screening I attended was sweetened with non-press people, and I overheard many of them raving about the film afterward; one even said, "I haven't been this entertained by a film in a long time." Either that guy doesn't get out much, or (more likely) _Gone_in_Sixty_Seconds_ will be another summer success for Bruckheimer--actual quality be damned.

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