Gone In 60 Seconds

6 out of 10


I Wish It Were

I vividly remember my time in Cantley where I was sharing with two friends. Whilst Xav was straight-forward, his whole existance being geared to getting laid 24/7, Martin, his old school friend, was somewhat more complex. 6`3", shaven head and built like a cinder block, Martin had three main interests in life: role playing, where he always played the Bruyger, slaying everyone in sight with heavy calibre machine guns, fast cars and cake-mixing. Why cake-mixing I have no idea, maybe the beating of the eggs let him vent any pent up stress, but there was always a fresh gateau in the fridge. For he was truly a man of habit. Every night he`d come home from the garage where he worked as a mechanic, grab a beer, slump on the sofa, reach for the remote and start watching "Gone In 60 Seconds". Working at a desk in the lounge on my computer, I could hardly avoid its distracting colourful stunts and little amusing jokes, and I swear, if I`ve seen Nicholas Cage jump the ambulance on the suspension bridge in his stolen 1967 Shelby once, I must have seen it a dozen times and more!

Reformed car thief Randall "Memphis" Raines (Nick Cage), now running a go-cart race track for kids, discovers to his horror that his past life as a small time car thief has inspired his younger brother Kip Raines(Giovanni Ribisi), to do the same. Having been disrupted by a Police raid, his kid brother now has no chance of completing his contract with a local brutal gangster to steal 50 top quality cars within the specified time. Either Randal go back to his old profession or the new local hood on the block, Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston) will kill Kip. With so little time left, he calls in the help of his father (Robert Duvall) and tries to assemble his old team to find that most are either in prison, dead etc. Only a handful remain, the silence Sphinx (Vinnie Jones who won the part after his part in "Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels) and Sara (Angelina Jolie) and he is forced to accept the arrogant team that his brother assembled. To achieve it in so short of a time with so few people, they have to go "old school" - stealing every one of the 50 cars in one single night to make it impossible for the Police to react before it`s all over.

To complicate matters, they face three major problems. Firstly, a top ranking local Police Officer (Delroy Lindo) knows Randall`s past, realises what he`s planning to do and puts all his resources into trying to stop him. Secondly, there is now the recipe for serious rivalry with Kip`s team regarding Randall as someone invading their turf whilst he regards them dismissively as useless - which they most definitely are not. Worst of all there`s the unexpected - above all the question of "Eleanor", the name Randall gives to the 1967 Shelby GT which has a jinks on it, for every time he`s tried to steal one the whole world has gone wrong for him - and steal one he must to complete the deal.

A dream movie for stunts follows, not least on the night of the theft as they race against the clock. A remake of the 1974 original, the film must have been almost self-financing even before it`s opening night, for it serves as a showcase for every top end model on the market, not just gleaming pristine in a car showroom window but with Mercedes and performance cars being driven like a bat out of hell, including the Hummer which is able to barge a cop car backwards through a multistorey car park to freedom with barely a scratch. Finally, with the last seconds ticking away, it`s up to Cage in his 1967 Shelby, racing to try to save his brother in a gripping car chase that puts even Jerry Bruckheimer on his toes and demands enough computer power for its animation to fly a space shuttle as the spectacular stunts just keep rolling.

The plot is clear through out, yet it is always fundamentally faulted. In order to allow Cage and his team any form of moral stance, they have to suggest that they would risk their lives and long term imprisonment simply out of fear for Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). To do this, Calitri, as is the case of all top criminals and terrorists in today`s Hollywood, is, of course, from England - Liverpool to be precise in this instance. In these days of witness protection, this stance is ludicrous, yet one guesses that its not the depth of the plot which is otherwise quite viable that it was intended would draw the crowds as it was clearly intended as eye candy for anyone with even a passing interest in fast cars and a dream come true for those like Martin in Cantley.

A fun movie, it`s worth watching, although after 20 times, the novelty does start to wear off!

Eye candy for car fans

Film Critic: Robert L Thompsett