Gone In 60 Seconds Movie Review
"Gone in 60 Seconds" wants to be a dusky, adrenaline-driven joy ride of car chases and ultra-cool criminal heroes, but it's so bland that it only manages to be exciting for about 20 seconds at a time.
This year's brain-dead summer action entry from producer Jerry Bruckheimer -- king of expensive, MTV-edited, cookie-cutter, popcorn crap pics for the easily entertained ("The Rock," "Con Air," "Armageddon") -- it stars Nicolas Cage as Memphis Raines, a reformed car thief forced back into "the game" when his inept younger brother (Giovanni Ribisi) bungles an assignment to swipe 50 rare cars for smuggling overseas.
A furniture-obsessed mobster ("They call him The Carpenter. He's bad. Really bad."), played by former art film denizen Christopher Eccleston, has threatened to kill Ribisi if Cage doesn't deliver the same 50 cars in 72 hours. So he abandons his modest, honest job running a go cart race track in a desert town and re-assembles his old crew of generically eccentric tough guys from central casting (with oh-brother nicknames like Mirror Man, Tumbler, The Sphinx), and one sexy tomboy ex-girlfriend (Angelina Jolie in a blond dreadlock wig), to pull off the heists -- all in one night.
This sounds like a great plot for a grungy guilty pleasure flick, and in fact "60 Seconds" is a remake of a 1974, B-grade cult favorite full of car crashes and bad acting. But Screenwriting 101 graduate Scott Rosenberg ("Con Air") foolishly tries to give the characters cheap depth ("If dad hadn't died we'd probably be working at his [car] dealership right now," Cage says wistfully) and director Dominic Sena ("Kalifornia") fails to get much excitement out of the dozens of car-swiping scenes that should be the centerpiece of the movie's thrills.
In one sorry scene Cage steals three Mercedes from a police impound while the audience is forced to watch it go down via security monitors instead of being where the action is.
Sena puts to waste a very talented cast on this dull but visually sumptuous failure. Cage seems to be on auto pilot and doesn't stand out at all. Ribisi ("Boiler Room," "Saving Private Ryan") and 1999 Best Supporting Actress Oscar-winner Jolie are criminally under-utilized. Eccleston ("eXistenz," "Elizabeth") abandons all professional pride to devour scenery on his predictable way to one of those fall-to-his-death bad guy finales. Robert Duvall gets some of the worst dialogue ("He's a jackal tearing at the soft underbelly of our town!") -- and that's saying a lot -- as a former chop shop operator turned restoration expert.
There's a couple good car chases toward the very end of this dreary picture, but in what can only be a failed homage to its B-movie roots, these scenes are just expensive-looking rehashes of pursuits that have been done dozens of times before (e.g. racing through L.A.'s flood control canals).
The slick, $50 million budget and the A-list cast can't change the fact that "60 Seconds" is a nothing but a set of new tires and an Earl Scheib paint job on a rusty old jalopy.