A Film Review By Jason L. King and The Mike
Rating:Rated PG-13 for Cars, theivery and overweight Somoans.
Starring: Charlize Theron, Marky Mark Wahlberg, Mos Def, Edward Norton and Jason Stathaam
Directed By: F. Gary Gray
Mark Wahlberg has always scared me. Each time I visit a film of his I find myself wondering why am I here? I know that over the last few years the name Mark Wahlberg has been the cause of Single-handedly destroying remake after remake, and has earned a spot on the Box Office Boredom list of people to poke fun at. What I am trying to say is that to me Mark Wahlberg is a joke. It isn’t Wahlberg himself that is a laughing matter, but instead it is his choice of roles is what always results in laughter. His last few roles of Planet of The Apes and The Truth About Charlie, have been remakes that people still despise because they threw the original idea out the window and did their own thing. So when The Mike and I had a chance to go check out the Italian Job, I felt I was up for a good laugh and headed off to the movie lines.
The Italian Job is the story of a group of super crooks that pull off a job in Italy that paid them 35 Million in gold bricks. But when greed gets a hold of one of the crooks, Steve, (Edward Norton) kills one of the group members and leaves the rest for dead. Years later, still haunted by that fateful job, Charlie (Mark Wahlberg) gathers up his original crew and a the daughter of his late partner, who also happens to be one of the best safe crackers in the area. The team vows to get revenge on Steve by pulling off the ultimate heist leaving the greed ridden crook with nothing.
My first disclaimer is that I have not seen the Michael Caine Original. The film does not exist in the Ames area; believe me I have looked. Therefore, you aren’t going to get a lot of “this was worse than the original” type of stuff because I don’t know. I’ve actually been told that the two flicks really only share the name, and don’t really have anything in common with each other. But I only can base my review on what I saw. And to be honest with you, I surprised myself and liked what I saw…mostly.
The cast was a lower budget Ocean’s 11 cast compiled of Wahlberg, Norton, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Seth Green, Jason Statham, and Mos Def, but they all held their own. Wahlberg was no different that he has been in every movie he’s been in. The potential is there, once he breaks out of the Marky Mark “Good Vibrations” mode he is still stuck in. The Mike’s beloved Charlize was there because she was good looking. Just another pretty face (Sorry Mike). I didn’t really get much out of her character. Norton slept walked through the film (rumors have been out that Norton did not want to do this flick, and only did it because of contractual agreements with Paramount). Norton’s disinterest in the flick showed, and even though I can’t believe I am saying this, if someone Other than Norton was cast, the flick could have been more powerful.
Despite the bigger names like Wahlberg, Theron and Norton it was the lesser-known guys who made the flick. Jason Statham (Snatch, The Transporter) did a fantastic job as “bad ass” Handsome Rob. Statham’s role as the tough guy worked well for him, and his ridiculous carefree actions kept the film interesting to watch. And Seth Green was amazingly funny. I normally don’t say that about him, but his humorous antics, mixed with a cheesy back story of how he originally created Napster but had it stolen from him was a nice touch to the films comic element.
The film itself was lighthearted and predictable, but you knew that going into the flick. All in all the film is a speedy paced, action packed, fun heist flick that has you rooting for the bad guys (who are good in this case). Filled with creative ideas, some fun dialogue and some fun car scenes, the flick is overall joyride from start to finish.
The predictability of the flick and Norton’s lack of interest are what let the film down, that mixed with a few other minor things. But in the end, I can’t believe I am saying this, The Marky Mark Film gave me some Good Vibrations, and if you are in the mood for a lighthearted payback heist flick, The Italian Job just might be your cup of tea.
Final Grade: B
The Mikes Review:
Charlize Theron, if you’re out there reading this, please know that I love you. I can’t stop thinking about you. You invade my soul. You make me want to watch Sweet November and Reindeer Games constantly. I might even watch Trapped, although I don’t know if I’ll ever be desperate enough to watch Waking Up In Reno. I’m sorry that I don’t love you any more than Elisabeth Shue and Ashley Judd, but I hope you know I don’t love you less than them either. If you could find it in your heart to come to Iowa and settle down with a fat guy who’s comparably smart by our state’s standards and isn’t one of those pretty boy actors like that Stuart Townsend, I would build my world around you, as long as you pay off my college and car debts with your millions. I’m joking of course, I wouldn’t make you pay (In all reality, I know you’d fall for me so hard that you’d pay them without my asking…oops…Don’t read that last part Charlize). You complete me, and you’d have me at hello.
Oops…I’m supposed to be reviewing The Italian Job, aren’t I? Well, I had a review planned out, but it turns out that it would look a lot like the one on the left. Jason and I pretty much share an opinion on this film. But here I go anyway.
Since I sent out my message to Charlize already, I will state my greatest complaint about this film as a statement to Edward Norton. Listen up, Ed. You had a great debut in Primal Fear, and followed up with a few solid films. But contrary to your belief, you’re not king shnit. You had an obligation to this film, and you should have put your heart into it, instead of sleepwalking while moping with “I didn’t want to do this movie!!! It’s not fair!!!” remarks like a 12 year-old girl. Luckily for everyone else involved, you were off screen enough that the film was saved.
OK, now back to the real readers. As you probably guessed from my words to Mr. Norton, he gave one of the most uninspired and pathetic performances as the film’s villain in recent cinema history. It’ll be a long time before the young man from Baltimore gets any respect from me again. I spent a lot of time after the film picturing other actors (Johnny Depp came to mind, as well as Sam Rockwell) shining in Norton’s role and giving the film another level of entertainment. Unfortunately we’re stuck with Norton, who I’m hoping gets bumped from Hollywood’s A-list soon, unless he can get his head out of his you know what.
After expressing my love for Charlize and condemning Norton, the only point left for me to make is my opinion on the film. It’s called The Italian Job, and it proves to be one of the better action films made in some time. I knew a lot of people who expected little either due to their lack of respect for Marky Mark or the fact that it’s from the director of A Man Apart. It seems to me many have forgotten that, before A Man Apart, F. Gary Gray made a great film entitled The Negotiator that he seems to not get credit for, along with directing the comic hit Friday.
As I expected, Gray’s direction is solid. The action and chase scenes are tightly wound and beautifully shot, and the plot setting scenes move swiftly and easily. He also benefits from a witty script that has its share of funny moments (especially through Green’s character, as Jason noted) and good character development for an action film. Excluding Norton, he gets the perfect amount of help from his cast, who are also perfectly cast in their roles. Like Jason, I give mad props to Statham as Handsome Rob, who added humor and coolness in all of his scenes. After his work in Snatch, The Transporter and this, I’m hoping we’ll be seeing big things from him in the near future. Hell, he could have pulled off the villain role better than Norton did.
There’s not too much more I can say about this film that’s not four inches to the left of it. The Italian Job, though reportedly unfaithful to its source material (Why do I keep getting films with prerequisites? I never said I know everything!..OK, I did, but I didn’t really mean it!), was a thoroughly entertaining action film that is a great introduction to the upcoming summer blockbusters. If you go in to the theater expecting complexity, you’re in the wrong theater. If you go into the theater to be entertained and have fun, then The Italian Job is the prescription for your fever. Of course, I’m biased to my beloved Charlize. If you’re still reading, Charlize, I still love you, and this review would have been a lot better if Jason and I didn’t agree. Curse his black heart!
The Mike’s Grade: B+
There is one point I can make that I think puts The Italian Job over the top, but IF YOU PLAN ON SEEING THE MOVIE, DO NOT READ THE NEXT PARAGRAPH! Thanks. (Note: The Mike has written this in invisible mike ink. In order for the text to appear you must highlight the entire paragraph below…)
The Italian Job is a simple heist picture, and this is what I found to be it’s best quality. As the last half-hour of the movie passed, I sat in my seat immersed in the heist in progress, but also praying that the film wouldn’t delve into too many complex turns. I’d grown attached to each character and their role, and didn’t want a sudden slew of “Oh wait, I’m with him…but wait, he’s with me!” moments. And refreshingly, the film complied…Everything was as it seemed. There were no forced plot turns, no characters who suddenly changed their ways for no reason, just a simple good versus bad battle that can either go either one way or the other. It’s a simple and fun ending to a simple and fun film.