Martine offers Terry a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London's Baker Street. She targets a roomful of safe deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew don't realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets - secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal.
When his mentor is taken captive by a disgraced Arab sheik, a killer-for-hire is forced into action. His mission: kill three members of Britain's elite Special Air Service responsible for the death of his sons.
Mei, a young girl whose memory holds a priceless numerical code, finds herself pursued by the Triads, the Russian mob, and corrupt NYC cops. Coming to her aid is an ex-cage fighter whose life was destroyed by the gangsters on Mei's trail.
Ex-con Jensen Ames is forced by the warden of a notorious prison to compete in our post-industrial world's most popular sport: a car race in which inmates must brutalize and kill one another on the road to victory.
Frank Martin puts the driving gloves on to deliver Valentina, the kidnapped daughter of a Ukranian government official, from Marseilles to Odessa on the Black Sea. En route, he has to contend with thugs who want to intercept Valentina's safe delivery and not let his personal feelings get in the way of his dangerous objective.
A thief with a unique code of professional ethics is double-crossed by his crew and left for dead. Assuming a new disguise and forming an unlikely alliance with a woman on the inside, he looks to hijack the score of the crew's latest heist.
Business is slow for Terry Leather, a London car dealer, married with children. He's an artful dodger, so Martine, a former model with a thing for him, brings him her scheme: a bank's alarm is off for a couple weeks, so let's tunnel into the vault. He assembles a team, not realizing her real goal is a safe-deposit box with compromising photos of a royal: she needs the photos to trade for avoiding a jail sentence - and MI-5, or is it MI-6, is pulling the strings two steps removed. A Trinidadian thug, a high-end bordello owner, and a pornographer also have things stored in the vault, so the break-in threatens many a powerful personage. Is there any way these amateurs can pull it off? Written by
Sold to the American public as another D-level action pic staring Jason Statham, "The Bank Job" is actually a crafty British heist flick based on an incredible true story. The screenwriters deserve credit for creating a serviceable script with so many intertwining stories based on little actual evidence, conjecture, here-say, and conspiracy theories revolving around royal and political sex scandals, militant Caribbean drug lords, undercover MI5 agents, bumbling crooks, crooked cops, and double-crosses and cover-ups. It could've easily been a confusing mess, but providing the viewer pays attention, "The Bank Job" gets the job done as crackerjack entertainment.
Though aptly directed by veteran Roger Donaldson, the film does suffer from an overly salacious opening ten minutes designed to grab the audience's attention, some shoddy editing, and an intrusively bad action-style music score. There's also an attention to 1970's period detail in the dialogue and clothes that comes across as caricature and adds an accidentally humorous undertone to the otherwise cold-as-ice affair. However, the details of the "truth is stranger than fiction" tale and the fun had by the ensemble cast make for a breezy way to spend a few hours.
Donaldson also has an eye for the ladies. Led by a smashingly gorgeous Saffron Burrows (looking like a European version of Michelle Pfeiffer circa 1992), the powerful women depicted in "The Bank Job" are far more than just eye candy. Statham is also fairly good as the head of the bank robbing crew, and when he finally throws a brick at a guy near the end of the film, it will put a smile on any action fan's face.
Things get tidied up a bit too nicely in the end, where it seems only the really villainous characters have to face justice, but before the credits role, there are a series of real-life epilogued details plastered on the screen that make the viewer realize maybe this all really did happen. Now that's a jolly good show.
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