J.D. Lafrance
Gone in 60 Seconds DVD Review

Gone in 60 Seconds

November 8, 2005

Director: Dominic Sena,
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Robert Duvall, Will Patton, Delroy Lindo, Christopher Eccleston, Chi McBride, Timothy Olyphant, Vinnie Jones, Scott Caan, William Lee Scott, James Duvall, ,

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DVD Review

J.D. Lafrance

Sixty seconds is unfortunately NOT the duration of this forgettable piece of celluloid cotton candy. Brought to us by action film producer extraordinare, Jerry Bruckheimer, it is truly astounding how he managed to convince three Academy Award winning actors (Cage, Jolie, and Duvall) to appear in this complete waste of a movie. For three such highly acclaimed actors to take such a dramatic leave of their senses is the most impressive stunt Gone in 60 Seconds (2000) has to offer. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we are subjected to a double dip for a new “Director’s Cut” DVD edition loaded with extras.

Randall “Memphis” Raines (Cage) is an ace car thief retired years ago to run a kiddies go-kart circuit (the film’s lame attempt at creating a backstory). He is pulled out of retirement by a buddy from the old days who tells him that his kid brother (Ribisi) is in deep trouble with a snooty British criminal (Eccleston) who has some sort of kooky wood/carpentry fetish (a bizarre attempt at characterization). Raines has three days to steal 50 cars (some common, some exotic), elude a rival gang, outsmart a determined cop (Lindo) and his partner (Olyphant) out to get him, and save his brother from joining that great race track in the sky.

For all of its beautiful looking cinematography and classy production values, Gone in 60 Seconds fails to ever get into the fast lane. Director Dominic Sena tries his best to pour on the trademark Bruckheimer in-your-face camerawork and snappy editing in the hopes of distracting us from Scott Rosenberg’s embarrassingly amateurish screenplay. There are times that you can’t believe such seemingly intelligent actors would dare utter some of the most god-awful dialogue to grace the screen in a long time. There are also errors in logic. Why does the bad guy let Memphis’ brother go free and lose his only bargaining chip? What’s stopping them from splitting town and never coming back? Rosenberg’s script never addresses this plot hole and that’s just sloppy writing. This is a level of incompetence not seen since the heady days of Speed 2: Cruise Control (1997).

The young actors are clearly outclassed by the vets. There’s a scene early on where Scott Caan tries to act and talk tough towards Will Patton’s character. Patton just gives him a withering glare that upstages Caan easily. This scene underlines the problem with most modern action films. They feel forced as they try too hard to be cool and bad-ass as opposed to films from the ‘60s and ‘70s (Point Blank, The Getaway and Two-Lane Blacktop to name a few) where it seemed more natural and authentic because of a higher quality of writing and direction. They didn’t feel the need to heap tons of stylish direction and frenetic editing for no real purpose.

To add further insult to injury, Angelina Jolie sports an awful bleach-blond dreadlocked look that is all wrong and doesn’t suit her. It does; however, tend to divert your attention from the clunky dialogue and the complete lack of chemistry between her and Nicolas Cage.

The only other distraction from this total car wreck of a movie is the presence of many beautiful looking cars—that will no doubt leave car enthusiasts drooling—and the presence of British actor Vinnie Jones (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch). His introduction is so drop dead cool and his brief appearances throughout so good that he briefly makes one forget how truly bad the rest of the movie is in comparison. And that is saying a lot. Gone in 60 Seconds would have been so much better if they had reduced Cage’s character to a minor one and focused on Jones’ Sphinx. No matter, sixty seconds is all it will take for you to forget that you ever saw this movie.

Special Features:

“Conversations with Jerry Bruckheimer” is a featurette that focuses on the veteran producer. He explains his role, touches upon the process for assembling a movie and the challenges he faced on some of his projects. He clearly has the cool confidence of a big-time mogul. Also included is a text biography and filmography.

“Action Overload” is a montage of the film’s action sequences with behind-the-scenes footage mixed in. Nothing is really explained in this uninformative extra.

“The Big Chase” breaks down the film’s climatic car chase into three segments. Bruckheimer, Sena and other crew members take us through this sequence telling us how it was done. Not surprisingly, a lot of careful planning and coordination was required to pull it off.

“0 to 60” is a brief Making of featurette. Bruckheimer wanted to do something “fresh and interesting” with this movie. Too bad it is a remake of an older film. Sena claims that there was drama, romance and comedy mixed in so that it wasn’t just another action film. Too bad none of these elements gel well together.

Sena wanted to have the film’s stars do a lot of their own driving and “Wild Rides” explores Cage’s enthusiasm for expensive cars. As a result, he was keen to drive these cars and do as much of his own driving as possible, including extensive stunt driving training sessions with experts.

“Stars on the Movies” features brief interviews with the cast about their characters that were done during filming. They are typically superficial and self-congratulatory with little insight.

There is a music video for “Painted on My Heart” by the Cult with a very Jim Morrison-looking Ian Astbury rocking out with the band mixed with clips from the movie.

Finally, there is a trailer.

J.D. is a freelance writer who is currently doing research for a book on the films of Michael Mann. He likes reading anything written by Jack Kerouac, James Ellroy, J.D. Salinger, Harlan Ellison or Thomas Pynchon. J.D. is currently addicted to the T.V. series 24 and enjoys drinking a lot of Sprite. This is not a blatant plug for the beverage but if they ever decided to give him a lifetime supply he certainly wouldn’t turn them down.
view all DVD reviews by JD Lafrance


Rating: 40%



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