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IN SHORT: Just right.
Cranky's kinda feeling like Goldilocks at this moment. I was fully prepared for producer Jerry Bruckheimer's latest opus, Gone In Sixty Seconds. I brought earplugs, 'cuz all his flicks are inevitably pushed to eleven. Didn't need 'em for this one, though. As I've written earlier: I liked Con Air, though more for John Malkovich and Steve Buscemi's roles; The Rock was much better, though over the top. Armageddon was flat out overkill. JB-Two-Thousand, Gone In Sixty Seconds is, well, you can finish the sentence from the tease. Either Bruckheimer has mellowed or I've developed an amazing tolerance . . .
Or maybe we've got the first truly, deliriously ridiculous and totally perfect first summer movie of the year. No bait and switch of promising a team action flick (sorry folks, that's what M:I is supposed to be). Just the usual Bruckheimer big budget for lots of cars to trash, explosions to blast and smaller doses of gratuitous sex and violence.
Lest I forget, there is a director responsible for putting this all together, Dominic Sena. But the formula is all Bruckheimer, with script by Con Air writer Scott Rosenberg (also uncredited on Armageddon. We'll forgive him for that one).
Based on a 1974 movie, now called "cult classic" ('cuz no one went to see it then, and I was in my every night in the movie theater stage back in '74) Gone in Sixty Seconds is the story of retired ex-ace car thief Randall "Memphis" Raines (Nicolas Cage) who must "boost" fifty cars in less than four days to save his brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) from a psychotic Brit mob-type. Li'l bro', y'see, has grown up to be the car thief that big bro' didn't want him to be, and he's not exactly an ace. Kip took a contract to steal 50 top of the line sports jobs and, thirteen cars into the gig, blows it. Contractor Raymond Calitri (Christopher Eccleston), isn't pleased with the turn of events -- he'd hired the kid based on the brother's rep -- and, with the help of some heavy duty salvage equipment, "convinces" Memphis to once again take up the life.
All the while, Detective Roland Castlebeck (Delroy Lindo) has been tracking down Kip. Nailing Memphis, the one that got away, would be the icing on the cake of his career. Memphis, with a countdown clock popping up on screen from time to time, has seventy two hours to raise a crew, find the cars and boost 'em. Simply, it's down to 50 cars in 24 hours, and some of the brands on the list, including a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT (which Memphis has tried to grab before and has nicknamed Eleanor) are heavily guarded. Memphis regroups his old crew, what's left of 'em: Otto (Robert Duvall), the mute Sphinx (Vinnie Jones) and the tough as nails love interest Sara "Sway" Wayland (Angelina Jolie). Kip has his own crew, most of 'em idiots, but they've got their place in the overall scheme of things.
Gone in Sixty Seconds has characters that so verge on the "I have so seen this before" that they're almost stereotype. Or maybe I do have vestigial recollections of the original. Filling in the gaps is all the pyrotechnical activity we expect, some stupid gangstas with big guns and a lot of black leather. For the guys. For the gals, too. Cage's Memphis is, well, I don't know what to make of Nicolas Cage's work on a good day. Memphis is a much easier character to grasp; that "I've seen this before" thing works well here and Cage let's loose just enough of that psycho energy he keeps bottled up inside that when he pops the cork (to a ZZ Top tune) the audience started giggling with anticipation. Jolie, Ribisi and Duvall do exactly what they need to do -- they've all done it before -- and Jolie and Cage crackle with a sexual energy that is pretty damned good for a PG-13 flick.
As for the target audience, all the teens and Gen X/Y boys, let's put it this way. I sat at the second of two sneaks on the same night. Kidlets from the first show were lined up around the theater to get in for a second dose. On the scale of previous Bruckheimer flicks, the elder 20s fans were putting Gone In Sixty Seconds just behind The Rock and ahead of the other two on my list above. Cranky concurs.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Gone In Sixty, he would have paid...
For once, at least for me, everything works just fine.
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