|The Italian Job (2003)
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def, Donald Sutherland
Director: F. Gary Gray
It's hard to imagine it was ever going to live up to the original, but the 2003 update of "The Italian Job" – which will likely send remake haters into a rabid frenzy – isn't nearly as bad as many were expecting. In fact, it's actually pretty good. Loosely based on the 1969 Michael Caine film of the same name, director F. Gary Gray has crafted a fun summer film packed with action, comedy, and a talented ensemble cast.
Mark Wahlberg stars as Charlie Croker, a master thief who, along with the help of his crew – inside man Steve (Edward Norton), getaway driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), computer whiz Lyle (Seth Green), and demolitions expert Left Ear (Mos Def) – has just pulled off the ultimate heist, stealing $34 million in gold bars from a Venice vault. But when Steve backstabs them and takes off with the loot, Charlie recruits a sexy safecracker (Charlize Theron) to join the remaining crew and steal back the gold.
While A-listers like Wahlberg, Norton and Theron are the stars of "The Italian Job," it's the supporting cast that truly shines. Jason Statham is still a rising star in Hollywood, but will be stealing jobs from guys like Wahlberg pretty soon thanks to his tough guy charm, while Mos Def and Seth Green provide many of the laughs. Donald Sutherland is also solid as Charlie's mentor, but it's really just a cameo at best.
The film's action sequences aren't very memorable (apart from an exciting speedboat chase in the opening minutes that takes place through the canals of Italy), and you've likely seen heist movies smarter than this one, but it's a real crowd-pleaser nonetheless. Granted, it's not as good as "Ocean's Eleven," but if you're trying to escape the summer heat, you could do a lot worse than "The Italian Job."