Gone in 60 Seconds
One genre of films that typically does not depend upon a strong plot is the action flick. Here, it is the fast pace action and in more modern times, the special effects that carry the film. Gone in Sixty Seconds is such a film. Of course, there is a plot of sorts. Kip Rains (Giovanni Ribisi) is a professional car thief, just like his older, now retired brother Memphis (Nicolas Cage). Problem is he contracted with a psycho English mobster Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). Kip almost gets busted stealing the first of 50 high-end cars demanded in his contract. Calitri does not take failure well and is about to kill young Kip when his brother Memphis, the best car thief ever, comes out of retirement to steal the cars and save Kips life. Unable to do this alone do the the short deadline Memphis gathers the best current thieves to help. This group includes his old flame and also now retired car thief Sway (Angelina Jolie). The take the first couple of days of the days left to case the cars and set up the boosts leaving the stealing of the actual fifty cars to the last minute. Of course there is a cop that has been after Memphis for years hot on their trail and a brush with a mob car full of heroin that is never really exploited as a plot point.
The casting director did some job here. The cast trailers where full of Oscars. Nicolas Cage as Memphis is of course fantastic. As the reformed thief he shows he still has it as the mad man villain even though in this role the explosive anger was directed against the mobster threatening his brother. There was a glint, just a glint of his character in Face/Off that shows for a moment in a showdown between the two. Angelina Jolie must have wanted a little paid time off when she took this role. Coming off of her Oscar winning role in Girl, Interrupted and a strong performance in the Bone Collector, Jolie is little more than the required sexy female in the action flick of this nature. A young woman that can out steal any man her character Sway should have had more to do but that would have required keeping the writer around a bit longer to actually add more to the script. Another Oscar winner that is beneath their talents is Robert Duvall as the mentor of Memphis, Otto. (Sounds like a pun from Repo Man). As always Duvall brings excellence to any role he takes. He is the guiding force of the massive boost and the managing director of the operation. Ribisi has potential as an actor but it didnt have a chance to come out here. I hope he can start getting some better roles like he had in Saving Private Ryan rather than pay the rent films like this and Mod Squad.
The director, Dominic Sena, seems to have been going for building up to the climatic chase scenes but unfortunately just manages to have the first half of the movie drag a bit. There is too many expository scenes with too little in the way of plot to justify them. With this type of film it is better to just do a brief setup and get to a roller coaster ride of action, more like the Die Hard films. Here, the audience is waiting too long for some real action and then when it comes it is spectacular but too brief for the genre. The last twenty minutes of the film is left to clean up the loose ends like the cop after Memphis and the mobster who is after Kip. It is tied up all together to quickly and unbelievably neatly. Senas choose of camera angles and lighting was very good and effective it was really the pacing that lowered the ability of this film to hold the audience. The cast was excellent and should have been able to do more to keep things moving rather than have the scenes cut in such a way that the film moves in an uneven manner.
The disc is excellent and typical of the quality expected from DVDs today. The 2.35:1 anamorphic video transfer is great. There is not the slightest hint of artifact even when the scene changes from light to dark. The sound is pumped up to the max! The sound track bursts from all six speakers with heart pounding intensity. The best extra is the Action Overload, which features a music video like look at the action scenes. There is also an interesting interview with Jerry Bruckheimer on what it takes to produce a film like this one. This movie is best suited for an afternoon with friends where you order a pizza, break open a couple of beers and just enjoy things for a couple of hours. If you really want a great car chase get Bullet or the French Connection instead.