The Italian Job (2003)

2013 #34
F. Gary Gray | 106 mins | TV | 2.35:1 | USA, UK & France / English | 12 / PG-13

The Italian Job 2003This came in for quite a bit of stick on release — how dare they re-make a British classic, etc etc. It didn’t help matters that one of the stars, Edward Norton, was apparently forced to appear against his will as part of his contract with the studio.

Now, I’ve never seen the original Italian Job, but from what I gather the only similarity is they both feature Minis in their climactic sequence — and even then, the original used ‘real’ Minis while this uses those daft big-as-a-regular-car new ones. In that respect it’s one of those remakes/reboots that is just using the name for brand recognition, and they normally turn out to be awful.

But maybe The Italian Job is the exception, because it’s actually a pretty decent little film. OK, it’s not high art, but it is a good time. The characters are amusing, the action sequences moderately thrilling, and while the plot is no great shakes, it’s a decent enough structure to encompass all the expected antics. Most of the supporting cast — the likes of Jason Statham and Seth Green — seem to be having fun, which is occasionally infectious.

In the lead roles, Marky Mark is fortunately not trying too hard to be serious, Charlize Theron makes for a The Female One who isn’t too far into the realms of eye-candy-over-character, On the job...and while Edward Norton’s performance is hardly remarkable, it doesn’t smack too much of being phoned in.

I doubt there’s anyone who loves this remake in the same way some people treasure the original, but that’s fine — very rarely (if ever?) do you produce a new classic when you remake a classic. But for a slickly entertaining modern action/heist movie, this does the job.

4 out of 5

I am far too pleased with myself for that pun.

2 thoughts on “The Italian Job (2003)

  1. I hate remakes/reboots/re-immaginings. I know we are stuck with them as Hollywood continues to feed on itself and world cinema, but why not just do something original? Why waste all that talent? Even if its just stealing the title and intellectual property, and going off on a tangent, why do it? Its lazy, its tired. Its people jumping on the backs of more creative people. Modern culture is so redundant. Depresses me sometimes, where its all going.


    • I wonder how long it will continue to ‘work’. I mean, people who love the originals tend to hate the new versions, so they’re not going to go; and increasingly it seems young people haven’t even heard of the originals, so brand awareness isn’t a factor. The only way it works, then, is if the new version looks good in and of itself… at which point, why not just create something new?

      Maybe we’ll get there eventually — I mean, there are only so many things for them to remake.


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