The Italian Job

I just saw X2: X-Men United, a story about a bizarre parallel universe where blue, mutant beings live among us and the president is an intelligent person. The most interesting thing, however, was an unadvertised short film before the movie with huge stars and incredible stunts. I was surprised to find the industry would produce something so spectacular without any promotion or an inflated ticket price, but it was very good and a nostalgic reminder of cinema’s early days when short cartoons would appear before every movie.

The plot of this fast-paced action vehicle revolves around a gang of bank robbers played by Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, and Seth Green. In the setup, Norton double-crosses his team in a foreign country identified only by snowy mountains. Everyone else wants payback, a disembodied voice informs us, so they follow Norton to America where they manage to set him up and get back the loot during a car chase that involves a truck falling through a bridge and Green, as a comic-relief computer geek, monitoring “mission payback” with a laptop. At one point, Wahlberg punches Norton and Theron later complains that she did not get to punch him, too. But then, at the end of the movie, when Norton knows he’s been out-witted and there’s nothing he can do about it, she does punch him! What a finale!

Because of the one-and-a-half minute running time, some information definitely gets lost in the furious tempo. It seems some dialogue must have ended up on the cutting room floor, and the reason that truck falls through the bridge or who belongs to the disembodied voice is never fully explained. The chemistry between Mark and Charlize, though, is wonderfully snappy, and makes up for any missing plot points.

Knowing Hollywood, some genius will see this and decide to re-make it as a TV series or a feature-length film. Let’s hope, for once, this doesn’t happen, and we can enjoy The Italian Job for what it is- the ultimate, sexy express-train of suspense movies. On scale of Wahlberg brothers, where Robert is a 1 and Donnie is a 10, The Italian Job starring Mark Wahlberg is, coincidentally, a Mark Wahlberg, the numerical equivalent of a 7.9.