The Italian Job


In Venice, Italy, retired safecracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) calls his daughter Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron) and tells her that he is participating in what will be his final heist. John then meets up with Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) before setting the heist into motion. Their team consists of themselves and four others: Steve (Edward Norton) is the “inside man”, Handsome Rob (Jason Statham) is a getaway driver, Left Ear (Mos Def) is an explosives expert, and Lyle (Seth Green) is a technical expert. The heist is a success, but Steve betrays them all by taking the gold for himself; he kills John Bridger and leaves the rest of the team for dead.

A year later in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Stella is using her safe cracking expertise to break into vaults as an assistant to law enforcement personnel. The team has tracked Steve down, and Charlie recruits Stella to participate with the team in stealing the gold from Steve since she has the required skill and motivation. The team travels to Los Angeles, California to begin their surveillance of Steve’s house and plan the heist. Meanwhile, Steve attempts to sell his gold through a money launderer, but kills him when the launderer begins asking questions about the source of the gold. However, the money launderer is a cousin of a local Ukrainian Mafia boss, who subsequently seeks vengeance for his cousin’s murder. The team’s initial plan is to have Steve stood up on a date with Stella—who posed as a cable repair woman to get into Steve’s house and locate his safe—while the team would break into Steve’s house, load the gold into three Mini Coopers modified by Rob’s mechanical friend Wrench (Franky G), and use hacked traffic lights to make their escape. However, Charlie is forced to call it off because of a local party, which would witness the heist’s execution. To maintain her cover, Stella goes on the date with Steve, but he figures out her real identity. Charlie then confronts Steve and promises that he will recover the stolen gold.

Now aware that Charlie and his team are alive, Steve makes preparations to move the gold. He obtains three armored trucks and a helicopter from which to monitor the trucks’ transit. To counter the shell game, Charlie uses Lyle’s control over the Los Angeles traffic system to isolate the one truck containing the gold, which Lyle manages to find, and gridlocks the entire city. The team then steals the gold from the truck and escape in their trio of Mini Coopers. Steve and his hired security guards pursue them through Los Angeles, and the team manages to lose them all, except Steve. He follows Charlie, but falls into a trap: Charlie has already informed the Ukrainian that Steve is the man they want, and Charlie gives the Ukrainian a portion of the stolen gold. Steve is taken away by the gangsters, and the team split up the remaining gold and raise a toast to Stella’s father as they leave Los Angeles on the Coast Starlight. During the credits, it is shown what happens to each of the main characters afterward.


If you’ve seen these little striped cars driving around, y’know, the mini-Coopers, this is the film that brought them fame and popularity. Personally, they are a bit small for me, but to each their own. However, they do play a pivotal role on this picture. I thought, initially, that they would be just a way of transportation, but turns out that they take up more screen time than some of the actors.

Again, I have to say that I detest remakes, but I have not seen the original, so I have nothing to compare this to, so, my opinion is strictly based on what I saw, and nothing else.

The good…look at the cast, Jason Statham, Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Mos DEf, and Donald Sutherland. At the time this film was made, Statham was up and coming, Wahlberg, Norton and Theron were settling in to mega stardom, and Green and Mos Def were realizing that they are best served ding comic roles. Having said that, this cast is phenomenal. The chemistry that exists really sells the story. The last 30 minutes or so, are nothing but pure action, which I love. Of course, I could have done with a few more explosions, but I won’t hold that against them. While the plot of the crime is a bit convoluted, it is impressive, especially when they pull it off…before the deception, of course. What’s even more impressive is how they use the same process to get the gold back from Edward Norton.

The bad…for an action flick, there is a severe lack of action here. As I said, the last 30 minutes or so cram it all in, and that’s fine, but what about the other 90? Save for the heist at the beginning and later escape and betrayal, there’s nothing but a bunch of drama that takes up the rest of the film’s runtime. I’m not quite sure what the deal with the Ukrainians was, even if they do play a pivotal role at the end. I guess if they got a proper introduction and some development, they would make more sense, and not just 3 scenes, total. Maybe it’s just me, but if I had a few tons of gold all marked with a distinctive design of a dancer on them, I’d be finding a way to get rid of that mark, so that they can’t be traced. Norton’s character seems like a real smart guy, so I don’t understand how he missed that.

With all the fancy gadgets and ways they these guys pull off the hesits and adjust their mini Coopers, one has to wonder how long it will be before some real crooks are able to pull this off. I guess if some major city grid is shit down and a massive shipment of gold is stolen, we’ll know, right? I really don’t know why I’ve avoided this film. I guess because I thought it was more drama heavy, as most films involving Wahlberg and Theron tend to be. For the most part, I was right, but I was also wrong. I did enjoy this picture, but I’m not in love with it. The entertainment value is there, but not enough to where I’m going to drop everything I’m doing and watch this again. Having said that, if given the chance, I’d love to see it now and then, but for me, it was just above average.

3 1/2 out of 5 stars


One Response to “The Italian Job”

  1. […] this was going to be some weird twist on something like The Bourne Identity or at the very least, The Italian Job. Turns out that I was way off base, as there wasn’t anything close to either of those films […]

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