1551. The Italian Job (2003)

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5.5 Dull Hollywood plastic
  • Acting 5.9
  • Directing 5.5
  • Story 5.0
  • User Ratings (0 Votes) 0

Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron

Director: F. Gary Gray

Running Time: 110 mins


The Italian Job is an American film about a team of thieves who, after being double-crossed by one of their own, plan to get revenge by stealing his gold fortune in a daring heist.

This just isn’t The Italian Job. I do recognise that it’s not really meant to be a remake, just a modern version of the original story, but the fact that it takes the name of the classic film, and then goes further by mimicking the Minis and the heist, gave me the expectation of something a little closer to the original. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but the end result of this film is very poor on its own, presenting a generic, predictable and already dated heist story that never managed to grab my attention.

I think the most important thing you should know about this film before watching it is that it isn’t a remake of The Italian Job, and nor is it meant to be. The title and Minis are incredibly misleading (and completely unnecessary), but this film is actually just a modern, Bourne-style action-crime thriller. It’s by no means as good as The Bourne Identity, but if late 90s/early 2000s action films are your thing, then you can have some fun with this movie.

But apart from that, I don’t really see any other positives here. The A-list cast and high production values means it’s not an abhorrent watch, but they still don’t do enough to make it at least an engaging, let alone entertaining, watch.

The biggest problem by far is the story. There’s nothing anywhere near the humour of the 1969 film, but instead a shallow, plastic Hollywood formula that fails to provide any real intrigue or entertainment. Paced incredibly poorly from start to finish, I found it almost impossible to care about anything that was happening on screen, largely because it’s such a predictable plot moving along at such a dull pace, but also because it doesn’t offer anything beyond action and explosions.

There’s next to no emotional depth that would make for greater tension in some of the film’s quieter scenes, and the simple dryness of it all makes it an incredibly dull watch. F. Gary Gray gives the film the blandest look, shooting action in generic shaky cam and making deluxe Italian and Californian locations look like Soviet Russia in a Bond film, meaning that you can’t even enjoy the film’s appearance, let alone what’s actually going on in the story.

Yes, I’m sure this film can be engaging if you’re not feeling up to a more intelligent thriller, and just want some good popcorn and explosions, but to take the name of such a classic and unique caper, and then pass it off again as a formulaic and dull Hollywood product is incredibly irritating, not to mention the fact that all of the film’s original ideas are simply uninteresting and lacking in energy, which is why I’m giving ‘The Italian Job’ a 5.5.

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About Author

The Mad Movie Man, AKA Anthony Cullen, writes articles and reviews about movies and the world of cinema. Since January 1st, 2013, he has watched and reviewed a movie every day. This is the blog dedicated to the project: www.madmovieman.com