The likes of Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Robert Duvall and Delroy Lindo can’t save this car theft movie from mediocrity.
The characters are thin, the plot is thinner. This is, in fact, a remake of a 1974 B-movie of the same name. It’s still a B-movie and too bad it hasn’t left the theaters in the same amount of time as the cars disappear.
Cage plays Memphis Raines, a retired expert car thief, who’s brought back into the game after his younger brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) screws up a huge theft involving some 50 elite cars. The ring leader is a dangerous psycho ex-Britisher named Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston) and he orders the death of Kip unless big brother Memphis makes good on the kid’s promise to deliver. Memphis has 72 hours to find the 50 rare cars and get them to the pier on time. All the while, he has Det. Roland Castlebeck, a very suspicious cop on his back. Castlebeck knows Memphis like a book and doesn’t buy the excuse that Memphis is back in town on family business. So, you can expect him to dog Memphis all the way to the bitter end.
In order to steal the cars in the time alloted, Memphis gathers up the old gang, or at least a few of them, including Jolie as Sara “Sway” Wayland, a former girlfriend and Duvall as Otto Halliwell, another retired thief who’s gone straight by using his skills to rebuild old cars instead of “boost” them. Both actors are wasted in the roles and for that matter so is Cage except he does a lot of dreck so who cares. Jolie’s character could just as easily have gone to a guy if it weren’t for the one come-on scene she and Memphis have together. But, instead, we get another grisly peek at the hideously-emaciated Jolie. Guess they wanted the presence of at least one female in the film. Frances Fisher appears briefly as Otto’s wife/girlfriend (who knows) and that part could have been played by an extra. Ribisi plays Kip alternately as a confident top dog and a whipped lap dog. This is not a film with good character development by any means and the action is fairly drab too.
Lots of neat looking cars get stolen but even that is not done in an especially imaginative way. And it goes on and on. The best part of the film is the last quarter with Memphis’ masterful car chase with him driving the last needed car, a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT 500, as he tries to avoid all manner of cops as he races to beat the deadline. It’s here where the car takes on a personna and frankly it’s the best in the film.
Lotta says “Gone in 60 Seconds” is an action film with just lukewarm action. I’m outta here!