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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Sporting complex consequences for a relatively straightforward plot, The Bank Job remains intriguing throughout as each set-up leads to ever more suspenseful twists for the likable group of ragtag antiheroes. Over-thorough character introductions cause a slower build in the early stages of the heist, but such complications likely arise from fewer liberties taken with the "based on a true story" events, and the result is a fascinating look at criminals, the corrupt, and those least guilty.
It is 1971 in East London and a fateful bank robbery begins to take shape. In order to remove the threat of radical gangster Michael X, government officials devise a plan to rob a bank on Baker Street and retrieve damning photographs from his possession. To keep the heist untraceable back to them, an independent group of thieves, led by car dealer Terry (Jason Statham) and the cunning Martine (Saffron Burrows) are unwittingly thrown into a deadly battle against corrupt officials and London's criminal underworld.
Jason Statham isn't your typical leading man, yet ever since Guy Ritchie's early films he has managed to keep coming back with bigger and better roles and is now thought of as an action film star. However it's here, in darker thrillers, that he finds a more sincere presence, especially as thief and scoundrel Terry. Each moral flaw creates a more dimensional character, and one worth rooting for.
The language of the film is genuinely intriguing, as it captures wonderfully wry British slang. Cheeky sod, 12-inch mutton dagger, a bit of bother, usual skullduggery and things turning a-custard are but a few of the verbal jousts that occur between the main characters. Devoid of euphuisms, these apparently authentic words make the dialogue a particularly potent piece of the puzzle.
The entire subplot about Michael X and his blackmailing of the British government is useful in its supposed tie to facts, but as filmed scenes in the movie, they are hardly necessary. Photographs of a princess caught in the act of promiscuity are at the root of the blackmail plot, which then goes on to include further damaging materials from Sonia Bern's brothel, also of factual importance, but equally unnecessary in the film. Michael X's involvement could have been entailed in a briefing by the 506 crew, who spill out the usual generic explanations of villains, and even Bern's entanglement could have been narrated through the details of the photos. While most of these moments have their entertainment value, essentially they serve to drag out the film's running time.
They say truth is stranger than fiction, and The Bank Job definitely falls into that category. Pimps, thieves, spies, and government officials all collide in a robbery gone right and then terribly wrong, lending the inquisitive to ponder over how much (or little) is fabricated in this thriller. The robbery itself is merely the setup to an intricate conclusion, even though the film takes time to create plenty of suspense throughout the not-so-carefully planned heist. Though the people making demands continually change, our attention is always seated with Jason Statham's unusually intense performance. When the credits roll and the explanation that "the names have been changed to protect the guilty" flashes on screen, we realize what a delightfully flourished yet entertaining tale of "doing the wrong thing" The Bank Job really is.
The Massie Twins
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