Strangely enough, producing this review gave me my first opportunity to watch Gone In Sixty Seconds which if the synopsis is anything to go by, would normally be a movie that would appeal to me. I am the first to champion the appeal of , for example, The Fast and the Furious franchise. Maybe not for any great movie making merit nor any Oscar winning performances by its cast. No, such films earn their place because they entertain. Pure and simple. They aren't meant to be taken too seriously, they aren't meant to be totally believable. They are just filled with over the top action sequences and thrilling stunts that make you, and you beer drinking, popcorn eating buddies smile.
Gone in Sixty Seconds. is under the illusion that it indeed is a serious piece of filmmaking even though the premise is a rather incredible one.
Like a cross between The Fast and the Furious and Ocean's 11, Gone in Sixty Seconds takes us into the dark world of grand theft auto where our anti-hero, Randall 'Memphis' Raines (Nicolas Cage) a (retired) top professional car thief, must accept a job to steal fifty elite cars including Ferraris, Porsches and a very nice Shelby Ford Mustang GT 500 codenamed Eleanor otherwise his inept brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) who wants to emulate Randall, will be killed for a botched theft job he attempted for stolen car broker Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), known as 'The Carpenter' for his love of making furniture (?). Randall has no choice but to accept the job even though he has sworn never to get back into the business. He proceeds to recruit his old team of accomplices including The Sphinx (Vinnie Jones) and Sway (Angelina Jolie) who all have their own unique talents and it is this group and their 'buddy' interactions that give the movie its Ocean's 11 feel.
Of course their has to be an element of risk to this mission and that risk is supplied by the detective who has made it his life's work to catch Randall in the act. Detective Roland Castle Beck (Delroy Lindo) came oh so close before and doesn't want to miss this opportunity to put Randall away for good. So off we go on this wild ride to steal 50 of the world's finest cars whilst being closely watched by the police and trying hard not to end up dead by the local kingpin.
Gone in Sixty Seconds. is actually a remake of a 1974 movie of the same name which is famed for having wrecked and destroyed 93 cars in a 40 minute car chase scene. Though there are some significant changes made to the story in this version. In the original, the thieves had to steal 48 cars, not 50 and also had a matter of days in which to do it and not just one night as in this remake. I suppose 48 cars in a matter of days is not as incredible today as it was back then.
Directed by Dominic Sena (Swordfish), Gone in Sixty Seconds tries too hard to be dramatic when all that is called for is action and humour. As it turns out, the film is a little slow which is ironic considering the subject matter. There are indeed some very entertaining scenes and some great car chases. But these are linked together by protracted, somewhat inappropriate scenes offered I can only assume, to give the movie some kind of credibility. Instead, it alienates itself from some of its main audience, those looking for a no-brainer, thrill ride of an action movie perfect for a Saturday night's entertainment.
It isn't all doom and gloom though. Jolie just drips sexuality from every pore and provides ample eye candy for those interested. Cage is, well Cage! hamming it up all the way as usual (at least he seems to know the limits of the movie) and of course those cars are just sublime. It is also reassuring to know that the grand finale stunt was actually performed and is not down to CGI. Knowing this makes it all the more impressive.
After seeing Gone in Sixty Seconds I now know why it has slipped under my movie viewing radar for so long. It ain't all that! If you want great cars, fast chases and incredible stunts then The Fast and the Furious more than fits the bill. If you think such movies demand drama even if it means stunting the pace of the action then give this a go. It isn't the worst thing ever committed to celluloid but there are plenty better in this genre.
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