Gone in 60 Seconds is a guilty pleasure – its vacuous and superficial, full of typical Hollywood produced “guy-movie” cues. Cars, guns, explosions, anti-heros, and Angelina Jolie abound, as well as comically evil villains, comically thin plot devices, and comically honourable car thieves. All that being said, though, the movie is great for what it is – a typical Bruckheimer celebration of over-the-top action. Its fun to get lost in the action, and director Dominic Sena imparts a great sense of …ace (which he failed to carry over into 2001’s Swordfish), keeping the tension level-high, the action front & centre, and the cars at full throttle. There’s also some real funny moments too – the “Brick House” rendition at the police impound lot makes me cackle like a hyena every time.
Nick Cage (“Memphis”) is a retired car theif, living a dull life in anonymity in suburban California. His little brother, back in LA, has tried to carry on the family tradition, but run afoul of the local gangster tough guy. Cage comes out of retirement to save him from threat of execution, re-uniting his old team of hoods to do “one last job” to satisfy the local crime lord. All of this is complicated, of course, by the local constabulary, one of whom in particular has it out for Cage, having missed his chance to put him behind bars when he was an active thief.
Just a brief comment here: some movies, it just looks like everyone’s having fun on the set. This is one of them. Regardless of how goofy or superficial the roles are, everyone on screen is far into them, and looks like they’re enjoying every second of it. It makes for a great viewing experience – its always more fun to watch a movie where the actors are invested in the script, compared to one where the staff plods through and reads their lines in zombie mode. Jolie and Cage have good resonnance, and Ribisi is great as always – this movie makes we want to go out and get a copy of Boiler Room.
Let me start by saying that the menus will give you a seizure if you’re epileptic, so watch out. They’re attempting to communicate “fast,” I guess, but it comes across more as “spastic” and “illegible.” Oh well.
On to the video quality itself. This movie is originally from 2000, and was definitely filmed on celluloid. It lacks the unnatural sharp-edged “quality” of a digitally-produced film, and I think it gains a lot of atmosphere from its analog grain and fuzz. Colors come across very nicely, and there’s very little visible junk on the transfer – nothing major, just the background dust that mars all celluloid. I would say that there’s a bit too much grain at times – the night scenes could do with a little bit less atmosphere than has been employed.
The 5.1 mix is great – full of life, with well-deployed bass and great motion and spatial placement. These are important characteristics for this movie, as you’ll be hearing plenty of cars zoom across the screen, helicopters hovering behind you, and so on. I’m a little surprised that there isn’t a DTS track or anything really fancy on this disc though – given the Director’s Cut nature of the release, I expected a top shelf audio treatment. While this is certainly good, its hard to imagine that its the best.
Director’s Cut: Apparently this version of the film includes “never before seen footage cut into the movie.” Its not disclosed where this footage is in the film, however, or how much of it there is, so its hard to say if it has a material impact or not. I saw the original years ago, and didn’t notice any major deviations between that version and this, so I’m not feeling a lot of excitement about this “feature.”
Jerry Bruckheimer Filmo- and Bio-graphy: One little known fact is that to judge by his picture as included on this disc, Jerry B. is in fact a very close relative of Chuck Norris, if not actually Chuck Norris himself. Other than that revelation, this feature is pretty uninspired – lots of ho-hum text to scroll through.
Conversations with Jerry B.: This feature has much more substance than the prior one, even though its fundamentally unrelated to Gone in 60 Seconds. In his conversations, Bruckheimer explains the role of a producer, from conception, to funding, to staffing (finding a director, for instance), and so on. This is some interesting material, and Bruckheimer comes across as a really humble guy who knows how lucky he is to be working with top knotch talent.
Action Overload: Here’s some filler for you. A montage of action scenes from the movie, set to some nameless soundtrack piece. Underwhelming.
The Big Chase: This is a series of several vignettes, dissecting the big finale chase in the film, with the Shelby Mustang vs. 500 cop cars. This is very, very good material – director Sena and various stunt crew explain piece by piece how the visual effects of the film were put together. Lots of great knowledge to absorb.
Various Featurettes: 0 to 60: This is an “ok” featurette, which centers mainly on character development, writing, and casting. Worth watching, and nice and short. Wild Rides: Believe it or not, Nick Cage was his own stuntdriver for the movie. Nicely done! Stars on the Move: A series of featurettes about the key characters and their stories, narrated by Bruckheimer, writer Scott Rosenberg, and the actors.
Notwithstanding the fact that I have no idea what’s different about the “Director’s Cut,” this was a great release. There’s some real quality extras in there, good audio and video, and, well, that all adds up to quality.
Special Features List
- Conversations with Jerry Bruckheimer
- Stars on the Move – Character Featurettes
- The Big Chase – SFX Featurettes
- A zillion other featurettes and promo pieces