From the Archive – Gone in 60 Seconds (2000)

60

“Ice Cold, Hot Wired.”

Reviewed by Simon Drake

Directed by Dominic Sena.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Robert Duvall.

Memphis Raines (Nicholas Cage) has to steal 50 – count ’em – high-class cars in one night to save his brother’s life from Token Brit Villain Christopher “I’ll never move to Hollywood film” Eccelston.

What’s wrong with it?

Basically the film (actually a remake of a 60’s film) is terribly dated and frankly a little dull. Bruckheimer was evidently trying to capture the 80 cheese of Top Gun and Days of Thunder…But in the year 2000. Adding insult to injury, the film, pitched as a car chase movie, only contains one car chase…and that is ten minutes before the end. The rest of the film is spent with long, lingering shots of the cars (admittedly nice) and Angelina Joile (also admittedly nice), who plays the most unlikely mechanic in cinema history, with the implausible moniker of ‘Sway’.

Director Dominic Sena (responsible for other dire offerings such as the David Duchovny ass-fest Kalifornia, and the Halle Berry breast-fest Swordfish) obviously thought it was a great idea to punctuate the film with interminable pounding techno and epileptic edits…And Vinnie Jones.

Ahhhh Vinnie. 15 Minutes almost up!!! ‘Our’ Vinnie plays (wait for it) a violent thug (showing the full extent of his range) called ‘The Sphinx’ (where do they come up with these names!!!). Writer Scott Rosenberg has clearly never seen Mystery Men, or maybe he has as the previously mute Sphinx spouts some cod philosophy at the end of the film (in a very He-Man ‘all laugh together’ ending). Either way he probably misses the irony.

Finally, the whole questionable moral message of the movie (stealing cars is okay if they are expensive as the owners can afford it). Even the Maverick cop lets Nicolas Cage go despite the fact he’s just dropped a business man (admittedly British, therefore Evil!) into a vat of boiling molten metal.

What’s Good about it?

To be fair, the film has Nicolas Cage in, who always falls into the watchable category (despite Starring in Snake Eyes, 8MM, Bringing Out the Dead, Family Man…I could go on). It also features a cool car chase at the end (although followed by some sickening ‘all for a brother’s love’ moralising). Angelina Jolie disappears for half of the movie, so whether you think that’s a good or a bad point is your own lookout.

How bad is it really?

It’s just badly written by someone who on occasions has proved himself to be an able hack. It stars 3 Oscar winners, acting badly (I believe the term is ‘phoning it in’), in a film with high production values pitched to 16-year-old boys who read ‘maxpower’ magazine.

Must try harder!

Best Bit

Either the line ‘You promised your Mother you’d never steal another car again’, or Christopher Eccelston falling backwards into a pit of Molten Metal (with the obligatory terrible back projection effects).

The Cars are cool as well.

What’s up with…?

  • The Finale set in the leftover set of the steel Mill in Terminator 2?
  • Vinnie Jones philosophical psycho analysing all the main characters?
  • Nicolas Cage’s ginger toupee?

Ratings:

Production Values – High. Lots of expensive cars (some shots if them driving would have been nice though) and stars. 3

Dialogue and Performance – Pretty lame. A few decent one-liners creep into the mix, but not many. “I’m not messing with anyone who plays with dog shit” ‘quips’ a street punk. 16

Plot and Execution – The plot is more of an excuse really. The title was fairly apt. 20

Randomness – High. Subplots involving Parents splitting up, getting Cancer, Diaritic dogs and Geordie thugs are all thrown into the mix. But most bizarrely is the crapness of the car thefts, just shots of various fast cars being loaded into huge crates, then as the film goes on just shots of the crates…Obviously Jeremy Clarkson only allowed half his collection to be filmed. Also lots of techno crap about Carburettors and Tungsten fuel injection ports. 18

Waste of Potential – Unrated.

Overall: 72.5%*

* Overall rating calculated based on the percentage from the four rated categories.

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