How do you take one of the more unique race car films from the seventies and destroy it? Remake it with a bland story, add a very adult cast of Nic Cage, Angelina Jolie, and Vinnie Jones, and slap a PG-13 rating on it. Also, turn it in to a lame ass action comedy, for extra insult to injury. “Gone in Sixty Seconds” from 2000 is an uneven and fairly tedious action comedy that has all the edge of a crime thriller, except it’s suitable for teenagers, a crowd that will appreciate director Dominic Sena’s insistence on imitating Michael Bay.
Nic Cage is a retired car thief by the name of Memphis Raines, who has committed himself to running a gas station and go kart track. He used to be the best car thief in Los Angeles, and now his little brother Kip has taken over where he’s left off, despite his protests. Kip now steals cars for a living, and accidentally leads cops to the door step of brutal crime boss Raymond, the man he’s working for. With Kip about to be murdered by Raymond, Memphis comes out of retirement and agrees to steal fifty hard to find cars in a short time span, or else Kip is dead. With Memphis constructing his own team, including a crusty Robert Duvall (who does nothing but lecture, and play the obligatory crotchety old timer), he now races against time to keep Kip alive.
“Gone in Sixty Seconds” loses its appeal very quickly, and that’s mainly due to its hollow directing style, and unnecessarily large cast, all of whom don’t provide much friction. That’s likely because the writers have little no time to focus on so many characters in a two hour time span, so much of the exposition is based on character quirks and lame improv comedy. In one instance Memphis listens to “Low Rider” to get him pumped for the crimes afoot. Why? It’s a car song, and they love cars? It’s about as complex as you can get for a movie where Angelina Jolie sports awkward dreads and doesn’t really offer much except a titillating role as Memphis’ love interest.
Granted, the action sequences are sleek, but it’s tough to really find a likable character in the bunch, especially when Vinnie Jones is stuck in a role with zero dialogue. Delroy Lindo and Timothy Olyphant as cops tracking Memphis’ car theft ring also have the potential to really entertain, but they seem like an odd pairing, and lack any actual chemistry to make them likable protagonists, and rivals for Memphis and his group. As mentioned, director Sena really wants audiences to mistake his film for a Michael Bay actioner, and for the most part it sticks true to the mold. It’s loud, pointless, and tedious, and almost ruins a classic crime flick.