Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Movie Review: Gone in 60 Seconds 2 Stars

Gone in 60 Seconds
3 Stars
Tim Bennett

Note to Screenwriters: I get why you bandy around words like “character arc” and “backstory” and “conflict,” but please stop ruining big budget action flicks with wholly unnecessary and contrived “story” elements you paint-by-numbers over precious car chases and explosions.

Nic Cage’s brother (Giovanni Ribisi) is going to be crushed to death by fiendish smuggler (Christopher Eccleston) unless Cage, a master car thief, comes out of retirement to steal 50 exotic cars in 72 hours. That’s it. That’s your story. Anything else is pointless! Fine, you want to throw in a Grab Unit detective (Delroy Lindo) to heighten the stakes. Okay, you want to put together the Dirty Dozen of car thieves to aid Cage. Great. Just don’t waste any valuable screen time doing it.

Screenwriters, please put down The Writer’s Journey, watch the forty minute car chase of the original Gone in Sixty Seconds and understand: sh*t blowing up can be interesting enough.

With that in mind, once the story editors, screenwriters, director Dominic Sena, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Nic Cage stop pretending to be storytellers -- about an hour-and-ten-minutes into the movie -- Gone in 60 Seconds kicks hi-octane ass. Not nearly as many cars are destroyed as in the original film, but the filmmakers do an admirable job of car chasing through downtown Los Angeles and the apparently adjacent docks of Long Beach, blowing up lots of stuff.

Oh, I almost forgot: Angelina Jolie. And apparently so did the filmmakers. The ten minutes she’s actually onscreen, she devours the scenes, but her moments are few. Her lack of onscreen time may have been a blessing in disguise. Although there was a silly little love scene, we were thankfully spared the kinds of obtrusive romances we’ve unfortunately come to expect in action flicks (say, Liv Tyler and her animal crackers in Armageddon.)

If you can stomach the needless exposition with your gratuitous explosions, you might want to take Gone in 60 Seconds for a spin.

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