The Italian Job (2003)

Genres - Crime  |   Sub-Genres - Caper, Crime Comedy  |   Release Date - May 11, 2003 (USA - Unknown), May 30, 2003 (USA)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - France , United Kingdom , United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Owing less to its source material than to Steven Soderbergh's high-starpower, low-wattage 2001 remake of Ocean's Eleven, F. Gary Gray's slick, anonymous Italian Job retains little of the 1969 film's buoyancy, or irreverence -- which in many ways may actually be a good thing. Perhaps realizing that alpha-hipster Guy Ritchie had already strip-mined the Michael Caine classic in not one but two goofball caper films (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch, both of which also happened to star Jason Statham), Gray chooses instead to update a few impressive chase scenes, lift a couple one-liners, and otherwise leave the classic untouched. Italy doesn't even make much of an appearance in this Italian Job: Save for an opening heist in the canals of Venice and a snow-capped betrayal in the Alps, the movie languishes in the Southern Californian sun, making good use of L.A.'s seamy pawn shops, nouveau-riche mansions, and permanent gridlock. Unlike the 2001 Ocean's, the humor here is, for the most part, forced and trite; but also unlike Soderbergh's film, there's a genuine sense of gravity to the proceedings, a sense that there's something important riding on ringleader Mark Wahlberg's only-in-the-movies revenge scheme. For his part, Wahlberg is functional but uninspired; best among the bunch are Charlize Theron and Mos Def, both making the most of the few zingers the script has to give them.