Gone in 60 Seconds
Directed by Dominic Sena
Review by Matt Heffernan
You know it's summer when Jerry Bruckheimer releases a film to assault the senses and insult the intelligence of the American public. Assembling a creative team that he can push around, the man who brought us Con Air and The Rock has attempted once again to destroy whatever acclaim has been given to Nicolas Cage's career.
Cage plays Randall "Memphis" Raines, a retired car thief who now spends his time running a go-kart track. His kid brother, Kip (Giovanni Ribisi), bungled a major heist for British crime lord Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), who now has an order to fill for fifty high-end, exotic, and rare cars. Calitri demands that Memphis come back to town and re-steal the cars within the next three days, or he will kill Kip.
Memphis reluctantly agrees, given little other choice, so he goes to his old friend, Otto (Robert Duvall), to help him assemble a team of car thieves. Of course, everybody is now retired, but Memphis and Otto convince Donny (Chi McBride), Sphinx (Vinnie Jones), and Sway (Angelina Jolie) to join them. All the while, they are under the tight surveillance of Detective Roland Castlebeck (Delroy Lindo), who is just waiting for something to nab Memphis on.
Based on the low-budget 1974 cult film, Gone in 60 Seconds is one big, dumb ride through the underbelly of Southern California. Of course, Bruckheimer specializes in big, dumb rides, so this film was made with extraordinary care and skill. It's the first film for director Dominic Sena since his 1993 debut Kalifornia. Bruckheimer let him do one massive set piece after another, because Scott Rosenberg's moronic screenplay prevented any actual storytelling.
Rosenberg often works for Bruckheimer, providing him with little quips and expository dialogue to the keep the film moving. I admit, I laughed at a few of the one-liners, but whenever the "characters" tried to interact, it was painful. Cage, Duvall, and now Jolie are all Academy Award-winners, but their only function here is to put respectable names on the marquee. They never had to use their craft to essentially re-enact emotional moments from "Full House". Just be there for the close-up, smile and wink, then get out of the stuntman's way.
I've never seen the original film, but I have gathered that it also needed a little work in the intelligence department. It's mainly popular because nearly half of its running length is devoted to a single car chase. Bruckheimer had a lot more money to spend, but not the freedom to make such a bold choice.
For more information, go to the Internet Movie Database:
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)
Video Pick of the Week
Guide to Star Ratings
Review © 2000 Matt Heffernan