Back in ’74, H.B. Halicki had a dream to make a movie to showcase beautiful cars and crashes. From this dream, the man created the cult classic Gone in 60 Seconds. Fast-forward about 25 years: some studio executive had a dream to make a ton of money. Dusting off this classic bargain basement indie flick and putting a coat of Hollywood paint, they hoped to make a successful summer blockbuster. To assure success, they threw in some bankable stars in Nicolas Cage and Angelina Jolie as well as the up and coming Giovanni Ribisi. As such, in summer of 2000, we were hit with the flashier remake of the classic, Gone in 60 Seconds.
Summers are a popular time for big action movies to hit theaters, and something with flashy car chases can really delight a crowd. At the time, my butt was firmly planted in the seat and ready for it all with a bunch of friends. I had enjoyed Nicolas Cage in the painful and powerful Leaving Las Vegas, as well as the crazy action piece Face/Off. I did not yet realize Angelina Jolie was the actress from Hackers and I only knew Giovanni Ribisi from the middling Mod Squad. I would also learn to appreciate Robert Duvall and Vinnie Jones from their other works later on in my movie viewing life, but did not need to know of them to be excited for this chase movie.
As far as the paper thin plot goes, Memphis Raines (played by Nicolas Cage) was the best car thief in town. One day his mother told him to get out of town because she was afraid her younger son Kip (played by Giovanni Ribisi) would follow in his footsteps. A few years down the road, his younger brother had done just that, and had gotten himself in trouble with the worst of all criminal individuals, the Doctor. Ok, ok, it isn’t the Doctor, it is just Christopher Eccleston playing a crime boss. So, back into town rides Nicolas Cage to save his little brother. With the remnants of his crew and his brother’s team, they endeavor to steal 50 cars in one night to save Kip’s life with the best theft and chase scene saved for last.
Do all of these pieces add up to a good movie? Certainly not, but at least sitting in the theater that night, I had a blast. Looking back on it 16 years later, I do not think it is a good movie, but it is also still fun. I’m not going to make excuses for its lackluster plot or the fact that it probably needs about 20 minutes excised to tighten it up and keep parts from dragging.
My advice: avoid looking for legitimate plot development, and just enjoy the ride and allow yourself to laugh at the ridiculous conversations and interactions between characters. One of the best of these scenes is when Nicolas Cage explains his drive for stealing cars to his brother. Cage pulls out his signature distant stare and delivers his lines with a confounding mixture of sincerity and overacting. It straddles a line of being simultaneously moving and hilarious in a way that shouldn’t be possible. I love him and this movie for those moments.
These little moments are pretty much the only thing that pulls you through the overly long runtime of the movie to get to the fun car scenes. Robert Duvall seems to be enjoying a chance to let loose every once in a while in his limited screen time. Timothy Oliphant bounces between having fun with his role’s ridiculousness and being bored, both of which offer some entertainment for the moviegoer. Delroy Lindo has an especially good time every chance he gets to have back and forth with some of the actors.
In the end, you should not watch this movie for a good plot and character development; you will be better off if you are in the mood for mindless car action and stupid interactions. I will also admit that there are better movies for getting your car action fix. I will contend that the original actually has a better over the top payoff of a finale than this. However, it is still an enjoyable way to spend two hours if you go into it with the right expectations and mood. Oh, and look for a small appearance by a young Michael Pena.
This is not the most visually explosive film, but it offers up enough colors and sparks to show off video quality. The skin tones look true, the cars and lights look great even in the dark scenes, of which there are plenty. Speaking of, the blacks look really good and it really never looks muddy. Clarity is fantastic throughout and grain is well managed.
The disc includes PCM 5.1 and Dolby Digital 5.1. The audio is crystal clear with dialog never being lost. The crashes sound great and are well balanced. The music plays great on the soundtrack when it takes center stage. The only problem comes around when the soundtrack itself seems to let us down. But overall, the technical aspect of the audio mix does not disappoint one bit.
The supplements are relegated to a short feature showing off the filming of the big jump and a short feature of three pieces of the payoff finale. Honestly, pretty darn disappointing. It is even more disappointing when you look at the list of supplemental items that were available on the DVD.
This is hard to recommend as one to own. If we still had video stores, I would recommend just renting it when you had a desire to see it. As it is, there are no special features worth having the disc on hand for. While the technical presentation merits the quality of a Blu-ray, the quality of the movie really just merits catching it through streaming on demand or on TV, as most people will be happy with seeing it just once. Unless you have affection for the original movie that extends to the remake, this is probably best left to viewing it on a service you already pay for.