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F. Gary Gray
Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Donald Sutherland
Writing Credits:
Donna Powers, Wayne Powers

After being betrayed and left for dead in Italy, Charlie Croker and his team plan an elaborate gold heist against their former ally.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$19,457,944 on 2633 screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English Dolby 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 10/24/2006

• “Pedal to the Metal” Featurette
• “Putting the Words on the Page” Featurette
• “Driving School” Featurette
• “The Might Minis” Featurette
• “High Octane” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer


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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
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The Italian Job [Blu-Ray] (2003)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 24, 2017)

When I first heard about the 2003 remake of The Italian Job, I thought it smelled like a probable dud. I can’t really say why, but it just felt like one of those faceless summer movies that come and go without much fanfare. In a season packed with high profile releases such as The Matrix Reloaded, X-Men 2 and The Hulk, I didn’t think Italian would make a dent.

Although the movie didn’t earn as much money as any of those films I just cited, it definitely didn’t flop. Indeed, in some ways, it seems like more of a success than those flicks, as sheer dollars earned doesn’t always represent the best way to compute a movie’s popularity.

All three of the flicks cited struck quickly at the box office but faded rapidly and didn’t maintain much long-term appeal. Italian, on the other hand, turned into a sleeper, as it started slow and kept chugging away for weeks and weeks until it finally wound up with a more than respectable $105 million gross.

Italian immediately introduces Stella Bridger (Charlize Theron), the daughter of paroled ex-con John Bridger (Donald Sutherland). He’s in Venice to run one last job.

Along with John we meet criminal mastermind Charlie Croker (Mark Wahlberg) and the gang involved: premier driver Handsome Rob (Jason Statham), demolition and explosives expert Left Ear (Mos Def), computer hacker Lyle (Seth Green), and Steve (Edward Norton). They steal a safe, crack it underwater, and lift the $35 million in gold in it.

However, Steve turns on them. His own crew hijacks the money and attempts to kill his former partners. He mostly fails, though John dies along the way.

The movie then jumps ahead a year to Philadelphia. We learn that Stella works as a professional safecracker who uses her skills to help develop better locks.

Due to the circumstances around John’s death, Stella remains angry at Charlie. He comes to see her because he finally located Steve and wants to exact revenge. She initially refuses but she quickly changes her mind.

From there Charlie, Stella, and the rest of the old gang head out to California. The rest of the movie follows their efforts to get back at Steve. They plan to steal back the money that he lifted, so we watch their actions and all the necessary twists and turns.

Italian reprises some elements of the original 1969 version, but it’s not really a strict remake. Both films involve capers for gold, some of the same character names, and the use of Mini Coopers for a car chase climax. Otherwise, the pair don’t have all that much in common.

Some of the new elements improve upon the original, while others don’t. The biggest weakness is that the 2003 Italian simply seems more generic than the first flick.

While stylish and flashy, this one doesn’t appear as distinctive and original. The 1969 take had a nice sense of irreverence and spunk, whereas the 2003 one is more of a traditional action caper movie.

One improvement comes from the definition of the characters. Outside of a few prime participants, the 1969 film lacked any distinctive personalities, as it included a long roster of gang members, few of whom stood out from the crowd.

The 2003 Italian better develops the different roles. Sure, they all get stuck with one-dimensional attributes, but that’s better than the no-dimensional portrayals from the first. They all get their fun through-lines and create reasonably entertaining characters.

The biggest casting problem stems from Wahlberg, as he presents a dull and listless personality. Wahlberg certainly doesn’t feel like a satisfactory replacement for Michael Caine, the original Croker.

Still, though it’s somewhat formulaic, the 2003 Italian Job offers a fairly light and nimble adventure. It lacks a terrific sense of individuality, but it executes its story with reasonable flair and panache. You probably won’t find much memorable in Italian, but you’ll likely enjoy the ride.

The Disc Grades: Picture C-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

The Italian Job appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. One of Paramount’s earliest Blu-rays, this one showed its age.

Sharpness came with problems, partly due to the obvious edge haloes found through much of the movie. Digital noise reduction also created a lack of fine detail and gave skin textures an unappealing “clay-like” impression.

Definition seemed adequate most of the time, but it never came across as better than that. Again, those edge haloes were a real issue, and they tended to rob the image of accuracy.

I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, and print flaws remained modest. I noticed a couple of small specks but nothing glaring.

As often occurs with modern action flicks, Job featured a fairly stylized palette at times. Much of the movie remained fairly natural, but some sequences took on a cool and altered tone. The colors showed passable clarity but they failed to stand out as memorable.

Black levels seemed dense and deep, but shadows tended to feel muddy. Much of that stemmed from the general murkiness that impacted the image, as it never demonstrated much vivacity.

I suspect Paramount just slapped the DVD transfer onto a Blu-ray and didn’t bother to upgrade Job. The result left us with a bland, disappointing image.

As for the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Italian Job, it fared better. The soundfield used all five channels effectively and created a lively sense of atmosphere.

The film used a lot of different vehicles, and these allowed the track to present active movement. From cars to helicopters to boats, various elements zipped all around the spectrum and added a lot of life to the piece. Music showed nicely defined tones as well, and the track generally seemed involving and intense in its scope.

Audio quality seemed up to par for the most part, though dialogue demonstrated a few problems that mildly lowered my grade. Speech occasionally came across as somewhat edgy, but the lines remained intelligible at all times, and they usually seemed natural and distinct.

Music demonstrated concise tones with good range and delineation. Effects were always crisp and detailed, and they featured nice low-end response when necessary. Nothing about The Italian Job really excelled, but it did most things well enough to merit a “B”.

How did the Blu-ray compare to the original 2003 DVD? Audio remained identical, as the Blu-ray lacked a lossless option. This meant it provided the same Dolby Digital 5.1 mix from the DVD.

As noted earlier, the Blu-ray appeared to reuse the same transfer from the DVD, so any improvements stemmed solely from the superior capabilities of Blu-ray. These meant the Blu-ray became the preferred presentation but make no mistake: this was a flawed, lackluster image.

The Blu-ray replicates the DVD’s extras, and we start with a program called Pedal to the Metal: The Making of The Italian Job. This 18-minute, 18-second program features comments from director F. Gary Gray, producer Donald De Line, executive producer James Dyer, production designer Charles Wood, director of photography Wally Pfister, and actors Seth Green, Donald Sutherland, Mark Wahlberg, Mos Def, Charlize Theron, and Jason Statham.

The show tells us a little about adapting the original tale, casting, locations and production logistics, and other brief notes. A little decent information pops up along the way, but mostly we just get hyperbole about what an amazing project this is and how great everyone is. It’s a fairly fluffy program.

After this follows a collection of four more featurettes. First up is one entitled Putting the Words to the Page for The Italian Job.

In this five-minute, 48-second piece, we hear a little from director Gray but mostly get remarks from screenwriters Donna and Wayne Powers. The featurette starts well as the pair tell us of their experiences with the original movie and their decisions in how to adapt it. They also discuss changes from the first to the final drafts.

However, the second half of the show just talks about how good the result is. The early parts are good but the rest seems superficial.

Next we get The Italian Job - Driving School, a five-minute, 37-second study of training for the actors. We get notes from Gray, driving instructor Steve Kelso, producer De Line, and actors Theron, Wahlberg, and Statham.

The program shows them in school and we find out a little about the sessions. It’s a short but reasonably interesting examination of its topic.

More car-related material appears via The Might Minis of The Italian Job. In this five-minute, 39-second piece, we find comments from Gray, De Line, executive producer Dyer, Theron, Wahlberg, and Statham.

The show looks at the Minis, their use in the movie, and adaptations made to them for the flick. As with the prior pieces, it’s not terribly deep, but it includes some interesting material about the autos.

The final featurette is called High Octane: Stunts from The Italian Job and it runs seven minutes, 53 seconds. We discover interviews with Gray, De Line, Wahlberg, Sutherland, Theron, Dyer, Green, Statham, special effects coordinator Joe Ramsey, and second unit director Alexander Witt. They go over shooting on the canals of Venice, the truck drop sequence, and filming stunts with helicopters.

Unsurprisingly, this piece includes some decent moments but doesn’t seem great. Still, it includes some nice shots from behind the scenes.

In addition to the film’s theatrical trailer, the disc concludes with six Deleted Scenes. These go for a total of eight minutes, 45 seconds of material, and all but the first – and longest – add short snippets to the chase sequence, most of which focus on Left Ear’s sad attempts to deal with a stick shift.

Called “Restaurant”, the first one runs four minutes, two seconds and establishes a little more about the relationship between Charlie and Stella. It’s the most interesting, but even it seems superfluous.

At times The Italian Job feels a little more generic than I’d like, but it proves generally satisfying anyway. The movie tosses out enough intriguing elements to make it a light and lively adventure that doesn’t tread any new ground but comes across as entertaining nonetheless. The Blu-ray offers drab visuals along with pretty good audio and a moderately informative set of supplements. I like the movie but the Blu-ray needs an upgrade, as it fails to live up to the format’s potential.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of THE ITALIAN JOB

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