The Italian Job: Directed by F. Gary Gray

The Italian Job is a modern day remake of the identically named 1969 Michael Caine classic. However, the modern day interpretation takes very little from the original script. Choosing to reinvent the story in twenty first century terms, the writing team of Powers and Powers (Deep Blue Sea, Valentine) take a bold step away from the original storyline, rewriting and eliminating rather key characters found in the original. The result is a film only loosely based on the original workings.

The plot revolves around your typical “Big Heist” scenario. Charlie Croker(Mark Wahlberg) inherits command of your standard Hollywood mix of highly personable and talented thieves after the retirement of the acting crew commander (Donald Sutherland). They scheme to rob a band of typical bad guys in Italy of a large stockpile of gold.

In the subsequent getaway, one of the team members (Edward Norton) double-crosses the supposedly talented team who have apparently thought of everything except what to do if a van they can see coming a mile away, headed towards them on a one way overpass, suddenly stops. Duh. Without giving too much away, Norton succeeds in the double-cross and the rest of the movie follows the team’s attempt to outwit one of their own and steal the gold back. Although this double-cross is an integral part of the story, they could have gone alot farther in making it believeable.

If you’re looking for ground breaking cinema, you’d be better served trying to locate the original on video. The modern day interpretation, though entertaining, neither startles nor impresses with it’s standard combination of big explosions and the brief interactions of it’s more comedic inclined cast members (Jason Statham, Mos Def). Presenting Sutherland to the audience as a repentant absentee father and Wahlberg as the son he never had seemed more of an after-thought than any real attempt to make it a relevant part of the script. The remaining cast members are also never fleshed out in the detail they seem to deserve. The characters, in general, seem more a collection of action movie caricatures than anything new or original. That collection, however, does prove to be entertaining if not impressive.

Wahlberg’s performance is notable only because it was one of the rare “Marky Mark” movies I’ve seen that didn’t make me want to choke myself into peaceful oblivion. Planet of the Apes, though stylish, was horrible and has anyone even seen Rockstar? Edward Norton, also has had a streak of lukewarm performances lately, and this one should be added to that same list. The most notable mention, acting-wise is Seth Green. Though in this film, as in his others, the viewer wonders just how much of his performance is acting and how much is Seth Green just being Seth Green. Regardless, his trademark tongue-in-cheek humor breathes new life into the audience at the script’s dullest moments.

Though I’ve definitely seen better, the Italian Job is a good pick for someone looking to be entertained rather than amazed. At today’s box office prices, you’re hard pressed to find a film actually worth the price of admission but you could do worse than choosing the latest Marky Mark offering.

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