The Italian Job (2003) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

A solid hit with a hundred million at the box, The Italian Job is a big budget, PG-13 popcorn film which includes two spectacularly filmed and ingenious heists. Vehicle chase scenes generally bore me, but this flick has some of the most original pursuits ever filmed. Sometimes you go to a movie to think, and sometimes you just go to see some cool stuff. This belongs to the cool stuff variety.

Yesterday I wrote about The Hard Word, a heist film with totally boring heists and great characters. The Italian Job is not much on characterization or relationships or quirkiness or humor, but the heists and locales are fabulous. Too bad the two films couldn't meet in the middle.


None. Not even close.

DVD info from Amazon

  • Making-of featurette

  • "Putting Words on the Page" featurette

  • Driving school featurette

  • "The Mighty Minis" featurette

  • Stunts featurette

  • 6 deleted scenes

  • Widescreen anamorphic format. 1.85

The film begins with the criminal gang breaking into a spectacular palazzo in Venice. From the floor beneath a safe, they do a Wily Coyote and cut a hole in the ceiling above them, so that the massive safe filled with gold comes crashing through several floors. They then flee the scene in a large speedboat, which is ostensibly carrying the safe. The safe's owners pursue in their own boats, in an incredible chase scene which actually seems to have been filmed in Venice. Meanwhile, the safe is not on the boat. It is far underwater, where some safecrackers are opening it and unloading it.

And that's just basically the opening credits.

The first 20 minutes are great fun, and the last 20 are also very cool. Those are the two heists. In between, the characters plan and recruit, and the middle section drags a bit because of some low-energy acting and some poorly defined relationships, but the film is still worth watching for the two heists and the creative chases.

Marky Mark is now the king of remakes. The Italian Job, Charade, and Planet of the Apes have all been remade as vehicles for the laid-back everyman star.

The Critics Vote

  • General panel consensus: three stars. Ebert 3/4, Berardinelli 3/4, BBC 4/5,

The People Vote ...

  • IMDB summary. IMDb voters score it 6.8/10, Yahoo voters A-.
  • Box Office Mojo. Domestic gross $105 million, foreign $40 million. Production budget $60 million, marketing/distribution budget $25 million.


The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

My own guideline: A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre. B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. C means it will only appeal to genre addicts, and has no crossover appeal. (C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by genre fans, while C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie although genre addicts find it watchable). D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre. F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-.

Based on this description, this is a C+. No depth, but very entertaining PG-13 popcorn film aimed at younger audiences.

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