The Italian Job

This is the second movie in a row for Mark Wahlberg that is a remake. Both prove that at this point in his career, he is not up the serious leading man role that he aspires for. The Truth About Charlie was worse than The Italian Job, but unlike the former, The Italian Job tries to be something different than its original. The new version is a slick, humorous caper flick, similar to Ocean's Eleven. It's not as amusing, but it is entertaining. And coming right on the heels of Confidence, shows that there are plenty of ways to make a heist film. The original Italian Job came out in 1969, and calling this version a remake is almost a misnomer, since many elements in the new version are different.

The only part that takes place in Italy happens at the beginning, when Charlie Croker (Wahlberg, Rock Star) successfully steals $35 million in gold bars with the help of his crew. This was the first time he was in charge, and it went off beautifully, one of his crewmembers double-crosses everybody, steals the money, kills their mentor (Donald Sutherland, Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within, The Art of War), and runs off to California, changing his name to Steve Frezelli (Ed Norton, The 25th Hour, Red Dragon). After meticulous research, Croker decides to reassemble the crew, with the addition of Bridger's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron, Waking Up in Reno, Trapped), a safecracker who actually works for the police.

The rest of the crew (hey, one could call them Marky Mark's new Funky Bunch) consists of demolitions expert Left Ear (Mos Def, Brown Sugar, Showtime), computer expert Lyle (Seth Green, Austin Powers in Goldmember, Knockaround Guys), and driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham, The Transporter, Mean Machine). Of all the principal characters, Wahlberg is probably the most boring to watch. All of them are funny, charismatic and engaging, and Wahlberg just kind of sits there and looks cute. Like all recent heist films, the centerpiece of The Italian Job is an elaborate scheme to raid Frezelli's compound, crack the safe and steal back the gold. Croker insists that the primary reason is not monetary, but out of respect for Stella's father, which is what finally convinces her to join in.

The highlight of the film is a frenetic souped-up Mini Cooper chase through Los Angeles and a huge traffic jam. Otherwise, there's a lot of fluff in Donna and Wayne Powers' (Valentine, Deep Blue Sea) screenplay, but it is amusing for the duration of The Italian Job. The dialogue is glib, the action moves quickly, and everything works on a superficial level. There is nothing deeper to the film, and that's probably exactly what director F. Gary Gray (A Man Apart, The Negotiator) wanted. The problem is that there is a little more nothing than usual, so this film is immediately forgettable.

Haro Rates It: Okay.
1 hour, 44 minutes, Rated PG-13 for violence and some language.

Back to Movies