The Italian Job Review and Bluray Features
The Italian Job
30 May 2003
F. Gary Gray
Behind the Scene and other Major Plot Points
In this is a remake of the 1969 British caper comedy, Mark Whalberg stars as Charlie Croker, the leader of a band of thieves planning the ultimate heist.
In interviews, Jason Statham said that in addition to the stunt driving course they all received, he got two days’ driving tuition from Damon Hill, the British ex-world champion Formula 1 driver. However, all the cast members acknowledged that Charlize Theron was easily the best driver among them.
A MINI with two steering wheels was used for some of the shooting in order that a stunt driver could drive the car whilst one of the actors performed in front of the camera. This unusual car is now a part of the MINI factory tour in Cowley, Oxford. 32 Minis were used throughout the shooting.
Stunts performed by actors itself
The principal actors in the movie did most of the stunt driving themselves. Whilst all of the principals needed stunt driving lessons – Mos Def needed a little more work because he didn’t have a driving license at the outset of the production.
Specially designed sets
The Metro tunnel set was so huge that it wouldn’t fit in any soundstage in Los Angeles. It was built in the hangar where the first space shuttle was assembled. They used every inch available in that hangar.
During the opening heist, a pursuing boat accidentally drives up another boat, is launched into the ear, and lands in one
The Venice authority allowed the crew to go over the speed limit for the boat chase sequence.
Originally the getaway was a much longer sequence in which a bullet-wounded Handsome Rob reluctantly hands over the driving to Left Ear, despite the fact that he can’t drive “stick”. After narrowly avoiding pedestrians at the Staples Center, getting stuck in traffic in Downtown L.A. and driving into a shop window, Rob takes over the driving. Some footage from this sequence appears as deleted scenes on the DVD release. There is also proof of this sequence still in the movie. If you freeze the movie at 1 hour 50 minutes and 32 seconds, you can see the spot on the right sleeve of Handsome Rob’s coat. Also, when he’s turning the car back around after taking out the second motorcycle, he’s only using his left hand to steer.
During the final chase scene, there are two scenes where Stella’s red Mini is not shown. This is because there is a deleted scene (which is on the DVD under deleted scenes) where Stella drives off to lead a police car that is chasing them away.
During the getaway, the helicopter pilot did actually fly under the bridge. You can find this on the DVD Special Feature.
RT/Meta Critic Review
This one offers some agreeably mindless fun in which the villains (including Norton) are truly villainous, the payback is satisfying in a purely infantile way, and the familiarity of everything is oddly comforting. (Click here to see)
A fun bit of action comedy with a bang up cast.(Click here to see)
F.Gary Gray has crafted a fun summer film packed with action, comedy, and a talented ensemble cast. (Click here to see)
Heist movies seem pretty quaint and analog in our era where high stakes crime is primarily electronic in nature. But until someone can make embezzlement cinematically interesting, we’re left with theft and this movie just gets away with it. (Click here to see)
Less giddy and more cohesive than the original, the film doesn’t waste time, plunging almost directly into a spectacular heist.
great movie very well done it seems they really took a lot of time putting this movie together.great cast Mark Wahlberg is a great actor.The scene where they created a traffic jam was great. really liked this movie lots of good action very entertaining.Would watch it with a good beer Hophead(MetaCritic)
Released in 2006 (before Paramount had a handle on their high definition releases), The Italian Job features a predictably problematic 1080p/MPEG-2 encode that begs for a re-release with a more proficient transfer. First and foremost, glaring edge enhancement and artificial sharpening are visible in almost every shot — foreground objects are disconnected from the rest of the image, edges are defined by thin but annoying white lines, and skin textures look slightly unnatural. Worse still, the film’s grain fields fluctuate wildly at times, light digital noise often invades the image, minor aliasing makes its presence known, the print is dotted with white and black flecks, and artifacting is a frequent issue. It looks to me as if the studio simply tossed the DVD transfer onto a Blu-ray disc to take advantage of the format’s inherent upgrades. Luckily, those fundamental upgrades help the picture look marginally better than its standard definition counterpart. Colors are more vivid and stable (albeit washed out at times), fine detail is sharper and more refined (despite a few hazy shots), and blacks are deeper and more consistent (even though they occasionally exhibit a strange blue tint). Contrast is also a bit unstable and shadow delineation isn’t as revealing as more recent BD releases, but neither shortcoming hinders the overall presentation as much as the other issues I encountered.
Unfortunately, The Italian Job can’t compete with the latest and greatest discs hitting the shelves today. It’s a decent release to pick up at a reduced price, but I wouldn’t criticize any fan who decides to wait for Paramount to issue a remastered edition.
If you already own The Italian Job , you can stop searching for the DTS 5.1 mix listed on the back cover… it’s simply not on the disc. The Blu-ray edition’s featured mix is a passable 640kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track that does a fine job handling the film’s jazzy score and frenetic chases. Dynamics are impressive for a standard audio track, boasting weighty low-end thooms, hearty impacts, and stable treble tones. Pans are also smooth, allowing on-screen Minis to naturally whiz from one channel to the next without a hitch. Effects have an organic quality that make the various action-oriented beats more authentic, but spotty directionality results in a slightly superficial soundscape. Likewise, dialogue is crisp and well prioritized, but passive rear speaker support makes much of the track a front-heavy experience. Sure, the inclusion of a lossless audio track in a future release of the film would hopefully resolve the majority of the issues I have with this particular mix, but only if the original sound design isn’t as flat and limited as it is here.
All things considered, The Italian Job sounds pretty good. I can’t say its standard Dolby track will blow you away in this age of DTS HD Master Audio and Uncompressed PCM, but it also doesn’t suffer from any debilitating problems that will distract you from the film itself.
- Pedal to the Metal (SD, 18 minutes): A standard, EPK-styled behind-the-scenes featurette that digs into the production, the on-set atmosphere, and the film’s action
- High Octane (SD, 8 minutes): An all-too-short exploration of the film’s practical special effects
- Putting the Words on the Page (SD, 6 minutes): The writers chat about their script, its development, and the differences between their version and the original film
- Driving School (SD, 6 minutes): A brief look at the stunt training the cast members were given to prepare them for driving the film’s Minis
- Mighty Minis (SD, 5 minutes): A profile of the many cars used to create the film’s climactic heist and chase sequence
- Deleted Scenes (SD, 9 minutes): A wisely-cut collection of scenes that look even worse than the 480p featurettes
- Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2 minutes)