Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000)
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"Gone in 60 Seconds" is an energetic, slick, stylish action picture with high octane star power and lots of awesome looking automobiles. If you are a viewer interested in cars this production, by producer Jerry Bruckheimer ("Con Air," "The Rock"), is worth seeing just to feast your eyes on the glossy vehicles. Although the film secretes a stench of weakness in many areas, its precise sense of action and excitement make it a moderately successful summer thrill ride.
The film stars Giovanni Ribisi ("The Mod Squad") as a young crook named Kip Raines, who, as the movie opens, fails to deliver a long list of expensive cars to the powerful criminal Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). When Kip's life is threatened because of such, his older brother, Randall "Memphis" Raines (Nicolas Cage), a retired but skillful car thief, is called upon to complete a task in exchange for his brother's survival: steel fifty cars-specified by model, color, year, and make-in only four days.
Memphis disburses the first three days recruiting a team of bandits to help him pull off the heist. The crew includes Sara "Sway" Wayland (Angelina Jolie), a sexy yet gruff retired car swindler knowing Memphis through previous business, a fellow named Mirror Man (T.J. Cross), the aging and wise Otto Halliwell (Robert DuVall), as well as Tumbler (Scott Caan), Atley Jackson (Will Patton), Toby (William Lee Scott), and Donny Astricky (Chi McBrde).
Contributing to the film's drive and tension is a subplot involving two police detectives, Roland Castlebeck (Delroy Lindo) and Drycoff (Timothy Olyphant), who suspect from previous experience that Memphis and his crew are up to no good and keep an extra close eye on them.
There is not much time for character development here; the audience gets to know these people though their rugged lifestyles and assume tough personalities through the films hard core, stylish atmosphere. To make matters even worse for the film, the dialogue fails to define the characters with a gritty cultural tone. I am not stating I think profanity and vulgarism is necessary for thrillers to flourish; I actually honor the director's decision to sustain from extreme foul language in a movie that could have very effortlessly earned an R-rating. However, I do believe in a movie such as "Gone in 60 Seconds," to strongly develop the character's enlightenment, dialogue needs to be believable and authentic.
In spite of problems, the characters are effective due to the top notch, perfectly cast performers responsible. Nicolas Cage's melodramatic performance is intense and convincing. Angelina Jolie's sleazy appearance is completely appropriate here. Delroy Lindo is deliciously sturdy and believable. Giovanni Ribisi, Scott Caan, Robert Duvall, Will Patton, and Christopher Eccleston provide persuasive supporting roles.
The film contains standard structure, with a satisfactory first act that elaborates on the story's style and the character's motives, sets up a fast-paced theme of action, but lacks depth and strong character introduction. In the second act we run into a few more problems: the story wastes time during much of this segment, never really building up for the third act. While the middle of the movie occupies much time, and a sex scene provides a solid mid-plot, not a whole lot happens. The third act is pretty much a sheer adrenaline rush containing furious wall-to-wall excitement and one of the most intense car chase sequences ever filmed.
The soundtrack to "Gone in 60 Seconds" contributes a great deal to the inspirational action scenes. It is scenes like the car chases that makes this movie work in spite of several destructive faults. Dominic Sena, whose career has mostly consisted of directing commercials, has an appealing style and a decisive attitude in "Gone in 60 Seconds" which will grant audiences with two hours of commotion, thrills, and excitement but not much more.
It's an update of the movie that shares its name. It also shares that picture's ethos, but not quite it's execution. Whatever was great about the original has been streamlined. Whatever was streamlined was also amped up thanks to a bigger budget. Often these kinds of endeavours are recipes for complete disaster - see the pug-ugly remake of The Italian Job for one that blew it - but here, thanks to a cast of mostly excellent actors, Sixty succeeds.
The plot and much of the dialogue isn't much to write IMDb about. Often you'll have scenes where the same line of dialogue goes back and forth between the actors, each of whom will voice it with different inflections. A lot of people found this annoying; I find it raises a smile. Each actor gets a chance to show off his or her definition of style here, with Cage, Jolie and Duvall leading the pack of course (and it should be noted that it's also amusing to see Mrs Pitt not given first billing here). The chemistry between good ol' Saint Nick the stalwart (see date of review) and Angelina leads to a couple of nice moments.
The villain is not even a little scary - I've seen Chris Eccleston play tough-guy roles before so I know he can handle them, but I think he was deliberately directed to make his role inconsequential as not to distract from the action. We know the heroes are going to succeed, somehow; we're just sitting in the car with them, enjoying the ride. I think a lot of these scenes were played with tongue so far in-cheek that it went over the heads of a lot of people giving this a poor rating. In fact, I wouldn't have minded some fourth-wall breaking winks at the camera: it's just that kind of movie.
All this style and not so much substance - something that often exhausts my patience if not executed *just* so - would be worthless if the action wasn't there. And for the most part, it is. Wonderfully so. I've noticed that it seems to be a common trend to be using fast-cut extreme close-up shots to direct action these days. I personally find this kind of thing exhausting. I prefer movies like this where the stunts are impressive enough to not need artificial tension ramping by raping tight shots all the time. I've been told that Cage actually did as many of the car stunts as he could get away with without losing his insurance (in real life I mean - his character clearly doesn't care) and it shows. The man can really move a vehicle and this is put to good use in the slow-burning climatic finale where he drives a Mustang into the ground in the most outlandish - and FUN - way possible.
So yes, this movie isn't an "epic, life-affirming post-9/11 picture with obligatory social commentary" effort. The pacing is uneven, some of the scenes could have been cut and not all the actors tow the line. But car movies rarely come better than this. So if you hate cars... why are you even reading these comments?!
I'd take it over the numerous iterations of "The Flaccid And The Tedious" (guess the franchise) any day. 7/10
In producer Bruckheimer's latest film, Gone in 60 Seconds, its all about the nomenclature. With character monikers like Kip, Sway and The Sphinx and cars idealized with names like Diane, Sue and the elusive Eleanor, it's only the non-stop action that keeps you from wanting to just play the name game.
Not a deep script by any means, but it is a great vehicle for action as Nicolas Cage as Memphis Raines, along with Angelina Jolie and Robert Duvall, comes out of car-thievery retirement to save his brother's life by stealing a list of 50 exotic cars in one night. A remake of the 1974 cult hit, this film may not be destined for the same cult status but it is entertaining.
Surprisingly, it's the action that keeps you watching not the acting. Although loaded with stars, none of them have standout performances, including a very weak performance by one of my favorite up and comers, Giovanni Ribisi. Even Jolie, coming off her recent Oscar win, is just a token love interest with hardly any screen time.
Can a series of beautiful cars and the car chases they become involved in make a great film? I think so. The film is a pleasure to look at and although one particular scene takes you into the realm of unbelieveablity, the action is non-stop and the suspense is compelling. Just be wary of other drivers fighting for a pole position as you leave the theatre.
3 1/2 out of 5
If you like cars and chase scenes. t's worth multiple looks. In fact, the car chase scene at the end is one of the best you'll ever see. Nice soundtrack in here, too, and a pretty good cast with Nicholas Cage leading the way.
The bad news? Well, here's yet another case of Hollywood making "bad guys" into heroes. We're supposed to root for people that steal cars? Hello??!!
Enough with the characters, let's move on to the real stars, the cars. Many reviewers seem to have been disappointed with the car chases, faulting them for failing to turn sufficient numbers of exotic cars into flaming, cartwheeling wreckage. I say, HALLELUJAH!!!! The cars Memphis's gang steals are not just transportation. These cars (especially the '67 Mustang "Eleanor," the '70 Hemi 'Cuda, the '70 Plymouth Roadrunner Superbird and that flamethrowing Merc,) are breathtaking, agonizingly beautiful. They are truly works of art on wheels. Would viewers have been up in arms if filmmakers had destroyed a Van Gogh on film for sheer dramatic effect? Hell yeah. That's how gearheads feel when watching priceless, historic automobiles meet ugly ends simply because a movie studio can afford to trash them to make a profit. That said, I was glad to see "Gone" avoid the destruction of any truly cool cars, other than Eleanor, and gearheads will be pleased to note that the Eleanor crushed in the junkyard was a junk '67, stripped of all useful parts and given a good paint job. While on the subject of Eleanor, many reviewers have said that it was a replica '67 Shelby, and was a bad replica. Well, yes, technically it was meant to be a '67 Shelby. A tricked-out, customized, bad@$$ Shelby. It's not a bad replica, it's a spectacular custom. No, no Shelbys left the plant looking like Eleanor. If only they had. Aftermarket lighting, ground effects, hood, wheels, nitrous, roll cage... the list of modifications that have been clearly made to the car goes on and on, and the end result is one of the most beautiful cars the world has ever seen. The chase with Eleanor was very well done, except for that horribly fake-looking jump (honestly, with 90 mil to blow, couldn't you make that look better?) and the activation of nitrous at 7000 RPMs (I know all car guys got a laugh out of that.)
In the final assessment, this was a fun movie. If you want character development, get "Citizen Kane." If you want to see scads of cars trashed for no reason whatsoever, get the original "GI60S" or "Ronin" (home of the most overrated car chases in movie history.) If you want to see true-to-life, absolutely realistic car chase action, watch Steve McQueen's green '68 Mustang GT390 duke it out with the black Charger R/T in "Bullitt," or better yet, switch on NASCAR Winston Cup racing next Sunday. If you want to have a good time, enjoy a movie, watch some cool cars and some sweet driving, get "Gone in Sixty Seconds."
Postscript- if you liked this, you definitely need to check out the James Bond film, "Diamonds Are Forever," home of another amazing Ford Mustang chase sequence.