Though not familiar with the original 1969 movie of the same name, as a stand-alone film The Italian Job swiftly moves along without any narrative hogwash and sufficiently provides a smooth combination of light humor and top-notch entertainment. With an all-star cast that includes Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Mos Def, Seth Green, Jason Statham, and Donald Sutherland to pump fuel into a mildly predictable action adventure, you end of forgiving any minor flaws.
After pulling off the heist of a lifetime that tallied up to $35 million dollars in gold bricks, Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) and his crew of trained thieves have a greedy member in the family of criminals. Steve (Edword Norton) made a few plans of his own. Subsequently leaving Croker and the rest of his crew broke and supposedly dead, Steve went to live a life of happiness without any remorse, unaware Croker and his crew survived. One year later, Croker and his crew are back to reclaim the gold and get revenge.
This is a well-collected caper flick with an amusing approach on character development, an intelligent script, and large-scale entertainment. The kind of popcorn flick that is reminiscent of a spectacular firework show — explosive, slick-looking, and just a whole lot of fun. The Italian Job uses its good-looking cast superbly, is lock and loaded with high-budget action sequences, and has plenty of energy to spare when it’s all over. This is quite possibly one of the most entertaining heist flicks you’ll ever see.
Director F. Gary Gray previously proved his ability to manage both comedy and suspense with his two previous hits Friday and The Negotiator. With The Italian Job he mixes comedy, suspense, and action evenly with a clever set-up and awe-inspiring stunt work. This is the work from a versatile director who knows how to supervise his cast, manipulate extraordinary stunt sequences, and please nearly every time around.
Without the use of any CGI work, Gray proves that nothing is more intense that a helicopter maneuvering through a tunnel and playing chicken with a mini cooper. Each actor held their own throughout the film by maintaining the form of an amusing character, but Edward Norton as the backstabbing, ruthless villain was most impressive.
Smart and filmed with charisma, The Italian Job bursts with entertainment from beginning to end. And thanks to a phenomenal cast and a proficient director, the film succeeds on multiple levels.
Special features include a making of featurette explaining the importance of the mini coopers, the intensity of closing down two blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, and the complications with the truck drop. There is an interesting line of features included in the Special Collector’s Edition that should amuse fans of this adventurous flick including six deleted scenes and a theatrical trailer. The only thing missing is director commentary. 4/5 stars