Michael Sauter
October 10, 2003 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Italian Job (Movie - 1969)

Current Status
In Season
99 minutes
Michael Caine, Noel Coward, Rossano Brazzi, Benny Hill
Peter Collinson
Paramount Pictures
Troy Kennedy Martin

We gave it a B+

THE ITALIAN JOB Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron PG-13, 110 mins., 2003 (Paramount)

THE ITALIAN JOB Michael Caine, Noel Coward G, 99 mins., 1969 (Paramount)

Why should we root for a bunch of thieves who are trying to steal a fortune in gold that was taken from them after they stole it in the first place? Oh, right, because they all have amusing character quirks, one of them is played by Charlize Theron, and another has just been murdered. But what really drives the too-slick remake is the stuff it has held over from the newly reissued 1969 Job — especially the extended climactic chase involving those darting little Mini Coopers. Too bad the updated version offers nothing like the post-Alfie cool of Michael Caine, the comic relief of both Noel Coward and Benny Hill, the blithely British swinging-’60s spirit, or the literally cliff-hanging ending. You can find that only in the original: a droll, cheeky, capricious little caper that makes the remake look like just another heist movie.

EXTRAS Among each disc’s making-of docs are features highlighting the movie’s true stars: the stunt drivers and their cars. 2003 Job: B- 1969 Job: B+.

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