Action, Crime, Thriller
Rating: PG Low level violence
"Gone in 60 Seconds" is like a practice game between the varsity and the reserves. Everybody plays pretty well, but they're saving up for Saturday. First team is Nicolas Cage, Delroy Lindo and Robert Duvall. Second team is Giovanni Ribisi, Will Patton and Angelina Jolie, who gets second billing but not much playing time. There are lots of subs who come off the bench for a play or two. This is the kind of movie that ends up playing on the TV set over the bar in a better movie.
A remake in the Bruckheimer (sans Simpson) style of a minor '70s car theft/chase/crash movie (that was written, directed by and starred H.B. Halicki), this is an identikit of recent big-bucks action pictures still mired in the style Bruckheimer - director Dominic Sena barely registers - 'perfected' in the '80s. It brings back the actors, images, plot devices and editing tricks from such hits as Top Gun, Days Of Thunder, The Rock and Con Air, but rushes through its rerun without ever really coming to grips with the fact that one car theft is very much like another.
Apparently because the rights to good films were unavailable, the producer Jerry Bruckheimer decided to remake the underwhelming auto theft spectacular "Gone in 60 Seconds" instead. By cranking up the action and adding a cast of magnetic, capable actors -- the Bruckheimer treatment -- he almost achieves alchemy. It's only gold-filled instead of pure gold, but that's quite an accomplishment. This new version is mindless hot-rodding fun, especially for those with a weakness for vintage cars hurtling down city streets, a group whose members include -- sigh -- me.
No doubt to director Dominic Sena's chagrin, the production notes call it 'Jerry Bruckheimer's Gone In 60 Seconds'; this is not so much a case of director envy as producer style. Bruckheimer's stamp is all over Armageddon, Con Air, The Rock, Crimson Tide, Days of Thunder, Top Gun …. He thrives on the sort of commercial blockbuster that only Hollywood can produce, and his task is to make sure he gets the right person for the right job and the right stunt/FX budget.
Big scenes at the beginning and end of "Gone in Sixty Seconds" prominently feature an auto compactor, which is exactly what should be used on this lemon. Perfectly dreadful in every respect, this big-budget remake of the late H.B. Halicki's 1974 indie hit may well rep the nadir of the Bruckheimer (and Simpson) franchise, and doesn't even rate on the most basic level as a good car-chase picture. A pedal-to-the-metal marketing push and audience expectations of high-octane action with Nicolas Cage at the wheel should propel this to a strong opening, but lousy mpg will drain the gas tank quickly.