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The Italian Job

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron
Director: F. Gary Gray
Genre: Action
Year: 2003
Rating: 3 / 5

What would Ocean’s Eleven have been were it not for the A-list talent that director Steven Soderbergh was able to assemble? Apparently, we would have been left with a film much like The Italian Job, which, it turns out, it not such a bad thing after all. In fact, although a notch below the 2001 crime caper, The Italian Job is a rollicking adventure in its own right. Mark Wahlberg leads a crew of not-quite-stars – with the exception of Charlize Theron and a disinterested Edward Norton – on two heists, full of clever gimmicks and some action-packed sequences. With such inspired performances turned in by the supporting players, it’s a shame the film’s lead is so devoid of charisma.

Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) is a talented thief, head of a crew that includes the soon-to-be-retiring John Bridger (Donald Sutherland). Charlie has worked with John for years, having just taken over the reins from the older chief. Along with their crack team – Steve (Edward Norton), Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), Lyle (Seth Green), and Left Ear (Mos Def) – Charlie and John are attempting to lift millions of dollars in gold from a waterfront villa in Italy. A clever plan yields a smooth getaway, but once the crew meets up to split the money and part ways, a kink in the armor is revealed. Steve has plans of his own, for he is not the sharing type, and the situation soon turns violent. The crew is left for dead in a freezing river as Steve heads for America to live the high life.

One year later, worse for the wear but alive, Charlie and the gang have finally found Steve holed up in California. Charlie’s plan is to steal the gold back from Steve, but to do so, he’ll need to help of a trained safecracker. Enter Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron), John’s daughter and a freelance specialist working with the police. Motivated by revenge and their lost wealth, Charlie, Stella, and the boys begin developing a plan to rob from a thief. In a crazy plan that involves helicopters, Mini Coopers, and the subway system, Charlie sets in motion a set of events designed to see the gold returned to its “rightful” owners.

The Italian Job is at its best at the beginning and the end of the film, not coincidentally the times when the films two big heists are being performed. The plans themselves are rather clever, the execution flawless. Jason Statham (The Transporter) and Seth Green are the sparkling gems of this movie, especially Green for his ongoing rant against a perceived injustice. (His running dialogue is worth the price of admission in and of itself.) Donald Sutherland is appropriately crusty given his role, and Charlize Theron pumps a little spunk into her vengeful daughter. The film stumbles, however, because its two male leads barely bother to show. Mark Wahlberg is utterly bland opposite his colorful cohorts, while Edward Norton has the look of a man stuck in a movie from which he cannot escape. This helps to make The Italian Job a flighty diversion if not a truly lasting spectacle.

Cast:

Mark wahlberg.........Charlie Croker
Charlize Theron..........Stella Bridger
Edward Norton..........Steve
Donald Sutherland..........John Bridger
Jason Statham..........Handsome Rob
Seth Green..........Lyle
Mos Def..........Left ear

Certification: Rated PG-13 for violence.
Running Time: 110 minutes.

Additional Info: Internet Movie Database
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