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This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Tue, Jun 17, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff


By Contributing Editor B.T. JUSTICE

As an editor of LA Car, which is a journal of Los Angeles and its car culture, I had a blast watching The Italian Job. While many movies have a tangible nexus to L.A., and its car culture, the Italian Job is tres L.A. Hell, if it wasn’t for the fact that it is a remake of a 1969 movie with the same name, I’d thought it stole our theme.

From the outset I was amused that the original movie featured the original mini and the new movie features, well, the new Mini. I was delighted that the Mini plays a major role, and its performance is superb. Bravo! Just as cars are part and parcel of L.A., the Mini is intricate to the plot of the Italian Job. The Mini's role was much more than just a get away car. It played a very creative part in one of the most funny and exciting heist and chase scenes in quite some time. So, why pick a Mini? It's small size, excellent handling and speed was the perfect tool for the heist of gold bullion in a L.A. mansion and the getaway through the infamous L.A. traffic. The Minis were driven right through the house, up to the safe, loaded up and then the fun really begins!

Right from the start the Minis were chased by a helicopter through residential neighborhoods. The Minis roared toward Hollywood while the infamous L.A. traffic was manipulated via computer by a co-conspirator. As if the Mini's ability to weave in and out of traffic was not enough, the Minis strutted their stuff by racing down the sidewalks of the Hollywood Walk of Fame right in front of the Chinese and Kodak Theaters. They then dove into the tunnels of the Metro Rail where the helicopter and just about any other car couldn’t fit. But hold on, here come the motorcycles. Well, while the motorcycles gave good chase, the heroes finally realized one sure way to dispose of a motorcycle in such a position. As you may have guessed, just knock the thing over. This is one of the funniest, most suspenseful, and exciting chase scenes ever.

So, you say, movie chase scenes through L.A. are somewhat blaze’ post O.J. Well, the Italian Job could as easily have been named L.A. story, had that name not been taken. Also, as is L.A., the Italian Job is replete with beautiful images, excitement, gold, greed, easy money, double-crosses, mansions, big cars, small cars, and fast cars. So you see, the Italian Job is all about Los Angeles and its car culture, with an itty bity splash of German, British and Italian flavor. You get the picture. But, should you go see the picture? Oh yeah. My initial skepticism after watching the trailers was about as misplaced as a Pontiac Aztek racing in the Long Beach Grand Prix. That’s because I enjoyed the Italian Job from the first revolution of the projector to the last. While it won’t win an Oscar, which in itself could be a reason to plop down some currency and spend an evening at the movies. The Italian Job is light, summer movie entertainment at its best.

It harkens back to other movies of a similar genre, such as Bond, Smokey and the Bandit, Oceans Eleven, etc. And while the Mini Cooper is no black Trans Am, and Mark Wahlberg is no Burt Reynolds, the former Mahky Mahk must have learned something about acting, law breaking, car chases and comedy from his Boogie Nights co-star. After all, in this movie he does play a bandit. The Italian Job it isn’t too predictable nor is it silly. It even manages at times to be refreshing, suspenseful, and funny. It is cognizant of its purpose, which it is successful in meeting, and it never takes itself too seriously. Kind of like the Mini. And like the City of Angels, it has enough originality to keep you thoroughly amused and entertained.

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THE ITALIAN JOB / ***(PG-13) Charlie Croker: Mark Wahlberg Stella Bridger: Charlize Theron Steve Frezelli: Edward Norton Lyle: Seth Green Handsome Rob: Jason Statham Left-Ear: Mos Def John Bridger: Donald Sutherland Paramount Pictures Directed by F. Gary Gray. Written by Donna Powers and Wayne Powers, based on a film written by Troy Kennedy Martin.

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