Gone in 60 Seconds is a 2000 American action heist movie directed by Dominic Sena and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer. It is a revamp of sorts of a 1974 film directed by H.B Halicki and centers on the incredible task that Randal “Memphis” Raines alongside his team of car thieves have of stealing 50 cars in a single night in order to secure the safety of one of their crew whose life is being threatened.
As far as re-creations are concerned, they can either be just as good as the original, miles better or just catastrophically worse. There’s always is that pressure for ‘redo film-makers’ to make a better flick than its predecessor especially if the latter was successful and thus a lot could go wrong in trying to emulate success; 2007’s Halloween is one very good example of a film that did not live up to its highs of the 1978 one. That said, this Dominic Sena movie quite rightly isn’t worse than the Halicki movie; there indeed are a number of differences between the two films when you factor in the timeframe given for the heists or even the number of cars to be stolen but nonetheless, it’s a tie for me, only just.
One of my favourite actors of all time Nicholas Cage is one who needs no introduction; he might have had a few bumps in his career case in point ‘The Wicker Man’ and ‘Ghost Rider’ but I don’t pay too much attention to the faults they possess, unless of course when I review them. His performance in this film is excellent; the character of Randal Raines a.k.a Memphis had a huge role to play in each and every Act of the movie. He is forced back into a criminal world that he comfortably left behind because his brother Kip (Giovani Ribisi) is in clear danger. Raymond Calitri (Christopher Ecclestone), the individual orchestrating all this trouble goes to the lengths of using a junkyard machine to gradually crush a car that Kip was in as the other Raines watched. The only way Kip’s life would be spared was if Memphis agreed to the tricky deal of delivering the exact number of cars wanted in a limited timeframe which he eventually gave into in the 11th hour.
The relationship between the two siblings was one that I extensively attached with. Kip is more less the clumsy and erroneous brother who is often in trouble whereas Memphis is the more responsible and assertive of the duo; he takes it upon himself to clean up the mess that his brother leaves behind. All of this is quite evident in one distinct scene where Kip accidentally pours a lot of salt on the food he is preparing for his brother but serves it to him just as it is all the same. Moreover, as they continue their conversation, Kip inadvertently starts a fire that he has no idea of putting out which, of course, Memphis does. I liked this scene because it mirrored the need for Memphis to compensate for the guilt he feels for leaving his brother behind when he went to seek a new life; he believes this was the cause of all the misfortune that Kip was entangled in.
For a film of its genre, I think it did quite a good job at incorporating a bunch of well-executed witty moments; it’s always good for the audience to experience some light moments with a photoplay whose tone is relatively serious, Avengers; Infinity War did a great job at that. Detective Roland and Detective Drycroff played respectively by Delroy Lindo and Timothy Olyphant get a call from one of their own about Memphis’ whereabouts and upon confronting the former klepto, there ensues a short back and forth trash-talk conversation which both three characters comfortably participate in. I can’t quite explain what they were conversing about, a reason for you to see this movie if you hadn’t already, but it’s super hilarious notwithstanding.
Additionally, there is Danny (Chi McBride) scolding an Asian girl during a driving test, Danny beating up and eventually advising a man who tried robbing him to adopt new and more effective ways of doing it and Timothy Olyphant’s character inquiring on the welfare of two policemen whose car had been hit by a wrecking ball clean through a wall. I could throw the ‘calling’ scene into the mix as well; Cage’s character trying to reach out to his old crime buddies to help his cause cracked me up a bit as well. He gets relatively unsuccessful and hence goes for the last throw of the dice in Sara (Angelina Jolie), who unfortunately declines to join Memphis’ team at first since she was not about that life anymore. The conversation that the two characters had at this moment was one that I liked because I could see why Memphis understood her decision; he has pretty much been in a similar situation himself.
When you go into a movie whose poster features Nicholas Cage and Angelina Jolie with a silhouette figure of a speedy sports car in the middle ground, you know perfectly well what you are getting yourself into; tonnes of action. This aspect, however, presents itself in doses which I wasn’t getting the hang of; the scenes in question are few and far between and that’s just one thing I did not like about the movie as much; you could argue that maybe my expectations were high or maybe you could agree with my assessment but, at the end of the day, opinion wins!
Throughout its entire runtime, this film could have been a ship that was perfectly floating in spite of some few leaks (minor flaws) then again, there happened to be one particular huge hole on the vessel that threatened its buoyancy. In my view, the stakes weren’t as high as they ought to be; when you delve into the stuff that Memphis’s team are putting their lives in danger for vis-à-vis the reason why they are doing it just didn’t help in the storyline’s continuity. And just so you know, Kip is a part of the team and not being held hostage somewhere by Calitri. I say this because there are so many other ways they could have secured Kip’s life i.e. exiling the guy far away in another town/city or even finding a way to frame Christopher Ecclestone’s character for something he didn’t do. The mentioned actions could have seamlessly worked but in the grand scheme of things, the film would have ended by then and we, the audience, wouldn’t have gotten the chance to see that fantastic car chase scene involving Memphis and the police department. It’s one of those ‘double-edged sword’ factors prevalent in many films not only in the present but also in the past; you can either assess the issue from a fanboy/a fan-girl point of view or just from a critical view as I am, and thus all I can say is “Pick a side!”; a notable Ebony Maw quote from the latest Avengers movie.
Just to wrap up, I think I am well within my rights as a gratified Kenyan film critic to crucify Gone in 60 Seconds in relation to the above flaws and other minor ones that I didn’t point. However, I would be doing the motion-picture a great injustice if I did because it indeed had some elements that I loved as clearly cited. Picture a flock of sheep with a few ferocious wolves scattered amongst them; that’s the film for you.