Not exactly a remake per se, but based on the concept of the original 1969 film starring Michael Caine, “The Italian Job” is a fun popcorn action flick. The filmmakers play it smart by comprising an all-star cast of actors that play their roles well; there’s a round up of charismatic and memorable actors who all play some great characters. Mark Wahlberg leads the cast as Charlie the gifted thief and leader of the group, Charlize Theron is Stella, the daughter of John who is a legitimate safe cracker for the police. Edward Norton plays the slimy and sneaky Steve.
Wahlberg manages to handle this role above par his usual roles, while Charlize Theron is charming and beautiful working well off of Wahlberg. Thanks to writers Donna & Wayne Powers for downplaying the characters Stella and Charlie’s romance; by showing less, it managed to improve the charm of their constant flirtatious bickering. Norton gives a good performance, never going over the top and relying more on his natural charisma. Outside of the principle cast, there are an array of likable characters including Mos Def as Left Ear, a semi-deaf explosives engineer, Seth Green as Lyle, a technology and computer expert, and the cool Jason Statham as Handsome Rob, the lady-killing expert racer who often acts as their getaway driver.
The action is lively and beautifully directed, with a lot of great sequences including the subway car chase, and the boat chase on the waters of Italy. That said, director Gray’s treatment of the premise borders on silly. I found the scenes explaining the team’s origin’s to be extremely goofy and about as tacked on as any scene I’ve ever seen. It seemed grossly out of place and seemed to diminish any atmosphere and flow this film had given audiences. Also, Norton and Sutherland are grossly underused including Sutherland who is pretty much given an important but still small part that didn’t expose his acting talents. While F. Gary Gray doesn’t capture the pulpy aesthetic of the original film, “The Italian Job” is still a fun bit of action comedy with a bang up cast.