THE ITALIAN JOB is a remake of the 1969 movie starring Michael Caine and Noel Coward, where Coward plays a criminal mastermind planning to steal $4 million in gold bullion by diverting authorities with “history’s biggest traffic jam.” Like its predecessor, the remake has its moments, but not enough of them. The new movie also avoids the moral road by extolling revenge, stealing and greed.
Mark Wahlberg stars as young mastermind Charlie Croker who engineers the theft of $35 million in gold bullion from a heavily guarded palazzo in Venice, Italy. The only thing he didn’t anticipate was the betrayal by one of his cohorts, Steve, a cocky thief played by Edward Norton. Steve kills Charlie’s mentor, played by Donald Sutherland, and mistakenly thinks he has killed the rest of the gang, including Charlie.
Charlie and his gang track Steve down in Los Angeles, where they also find the mentor’s beautiful daughter, Stella, played by Charlize Theron. Though estranged from her father because of his illegal lifestyle, Stella, joins Charlie’s gang to help them get back whatever’s left of the gold. This time, however, the job isn’t just about the payoff, it’s also about payback!
As the villain, Edward Norton plays the really nasty thief Steve with his usual flair. His confrontation scenes with the rest of the cast give the movie some delicious oomph. Mark Wahlberg and Charlize Theron also do a good job playing the easygoing gang leader and the romantic interest. Seth Green, Jason Statham, and Mos Def provide entertaining comic relief as the rest of Charlie’s gang. A couple exciting chase scenes, one along the canals of Venice and one along Hollywood’s Walk of Fame and L.A.’s subways, provide a few thrills along the way.
Ultimately, however, THE ITALIAN JOB does not have the big thrills necessary for a really entertaining summer blockbuster. F. Gary Gray’s direction is relatively uninspired. Furthermore, the movie’s subject matter carries a pagan worldview that extols revenge, stealing and greed. Steve, the murdering thief, gets his just desserts, but true justice is not served. Also, one of the gang members sleeps with a female Cable TV installer so that he can steal her identity and borrow a Cable TV truck. Furthermore, in order to steal back the gold and make their getaway, Charlie’s gang creates a couple big traffic jams, which result in innocent civilians getting their cars smashed. Finally, Seth Green’s character makes a joke near the end that mocks the Christian and Pentecostal belief in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the lightweight quality of this movie masks a surprising degree of carelessness, lust, sin, and blasphemy, even for a heist movie.
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(PaPa, Ab, LL, VV, S, N, A, D, M) Pagan worldview extolling revenge, stealing and greed, with an anti-Christian moment mocking the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; 19 obscenities including one "f" word and three strong profanities; scene of implied fornication and some references to sex; upper male nudity, woman lies under covers in bed as man gets up, and woman in underwear and T-shirt; alcohol use; smoking; and, revenge, theft, stealing, and daughter is disappointed with her criminal father.
GENRE: Crime Thriller/Heist Thriller