The 2003 remake of The Italian Job is about five men named Charlie Croker (Marc Wahlberg), Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), Lyle (Seth Green), Steve (Edward Norton), and Left Ear (Mos Def) who are all part of a group that pull off elaborate heists. The leader of the pack, John Bridger (Donald Sutherland), has decided he wants to quit the game presumably to spend more time with his daughter Stella (Charlize Theron). The only thing is that he wants to commit one last going-away theft so that he can not only secure …is spot in the hall of fame, but also secure his retirement. The job in question revolves around the city of Venice, Italy and a heck of a lot of gold (Try $35 Million). The plan goes off without many problems but what occurs next is somewhat of a shocker and helps to outline the rest of the film.
The first obvious comparison that this film had to deal with was the comparison with the film Ocean’s Eleven. While not as star-packed or explosive as that film, The Italian Job does a fine job at telling a somewhat ordinary story in a manner that makes the film interesting and charming at the same time. While Ocean’s Eleven had the star-punching power of George Clooney, Matt Damon, and Julia Roberts to name a few, The Italian Job rather focuses on stars not as huge, but most that rival the stars of Eleven in terms of quality of acting (don’t get me wrong, Damon and Clooney are fine actors). With the likes of Edward Norton, ‘Marky’ Mark Whalberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Seth Green, and the funny Jason Statham, the film’s characters make the film enjoyable mainly because these actors turn their roles into characters you’ll hate (Norton), characters you’ll laugh at (Green), and character’s you’ll laugh with (Statham).
Sure this Job doesn’t offer anything remotely new in relevance to caper films, but what makes this Job so entertaining is not necessarily the plot at hand, but rather the characters. Wahlberg and Theron work well together, Norton is the man who causes many twists and turns, and Green, Def, and Statham are just pure charmers resulting in the viewer experiencing pure entertainment. The final car chase with the little Mini’s is sensational Hollywood fun at its purest. With a short running time of 111 minutes, this Job is highly entertaining and worth re-watching many times over.
The 1080p 2:40:1 widescreen aspect ratio found on this disc comes across with mixed results, with some impressive looking scenes, and some scenes looking rather odd. Due to this being a rather recent film, the film’s print is obviously new and didn’t need much in terms of restoration. Colors, such as fleshtones, brightness, and sharpness fill your eyes with sensation making it seem like you’re truly watching a high-definition picture. The main problem with a film of this nature, having so many locales in an outdoor manner, is edge enhancement. Evidence of this is present in a majority of the ending film sequences, particularly the scenes where we are given an overhead shot of L.A. courtesy from Steve’s helicopter. This doesn’t necessarily make the film an eye sore, but makes this high-definition transfer in this particular scene seem like your watching the SD-DVD instead of the HD-DVD.
Presented in standard Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, it was a welcome surprise to find a DTS 5.1 audio track on this release. While the DTS track doesn’t vary much from the Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 track, a film of this nature seemed like it would boast a rather impressive and loud mix. While there are a lot of positives to this track, especially the clean dialogue and impressive dynamic range (particular the film’s great score by John Powell), I expected a bit more from this effort. The only real problem here is that there are a few scenes where some of the exterior noises seem to be coming from the rear and then suddenly seem to be coming from the front. This is not really a huge negative but I expected more because I enjoyed the film so much. This is not demo material by any standards, but is passable on its’ own merits.
- The Italian Job – Driving School: This is the first of many features that focus on the vehicles in the film. This particular feature has us travel to driving school where the stars learned how to drive the little Mini’s in the film.
- The Mighty Mini’s of The Italian Job: This feature deals solely with the little Mini’s used in the film and shows us how the Mini’s were transformed
- High Octane: Stunts From The Italian Job: This one focuses on the various stunts that the little Mini’s were able to withstand. This feature seemed like it was showing us how great the Mini was instead of showing why this car was able to withstand the stunts.
- The Making of The Italian Job: This is your standard making of feature that deals with production and sets.
- Putting The Words On The Page for The Italian Job: This feature shows us the films’ writers transferred certain parts of the 1969 original to the 2003 remake.
- Deleted Scenes: Here we’re given eight minute of deleted scenes most of which, unfortunately, do zip for the story at hand.
- Trailer: The most notable part to mention here is that the trailer was in High-definition.
The way to look at this film is that it’s a great way to spend 111 minutes of your life. The story is interesting, the cars are little, and the film’s characters (for the most part) are charming. The issue at hand is whether this is worth a purchase. Granted the film is fun, the transfer and audio are good but lackluster in some parts, and the features are the same as the SD-DVD. If you own the SD-DVD, simply rent the film in HD and enjoy watching it again in upgraded picture.
Special Features List
- The Italian Job – Driving School
- The Mighty Mini’s of The Italian Job
- High Octane: Stunts From The Italian Job
- The Making of The Italian Job
- Putting The Words On The Page for The Italian Job
- Deleted Scenes