The Italian Job

The Italian Job (2003)
Paramount Home Video
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland, Ed Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green
Extras: Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Trailer

A remake of the 1969 film of the same name, ’The Italian Job’ turns out to be much more than a simple reshoot. While using generally the same premise – a gold heist – the film throws in a number of wicked twists and story elements that were not there in the original film. As a result, I daresay, it turns out to be the better of the two versions, actually.

Mark Wahlberg, Donald Sutherland, Ed Norton, Charlize Theron, Seth Green and others make up the cast of this film and despite my expectation to get another overly hip teenage-catered film, ’The Italian Job’ turns out to be a solid caper movie with likeable characters, an engaging premise and a number of cool plot turns you just don’t see coming. It is well directed and paced and contains everything a heist movie needs, including furious escapes and last-second rescues, complete with suspenseful set-ups and a good portion of guessing on the viewer’s behalf.

Paramount is presenting ’The Italian Job’ in an anamorphic widescreen presentation on this DVD that is absolutely free of blemishes or defects. The image reveals a very high level of definition and a striking color balance. Black levels are absolutely solid and create deep shadows without ever losing detail. No edge-enhancement is evident and the compression has been handled flawlessly.

An engaging and aggressive 5.1 channel Dolby Digital audio track is part of the release that makes fervent use of the surround channels. As such it enhances the furious and explosive scenes of the film while it also manages to capture the subtleties of the more ambient moments in the film, allowing the audio to breathe. Dialogues are well integrated and always understandable, although the music is standing out a bit too much in the mix.

A number of featurettes are included, such as ’Pedal To The Metal,’ an 18-minute making of segment with cast and crew interviews and an assortment of images and footage form the set. It is interesting featurette that highlights a number of production aspects and also draws comparisons to the original movie.

Another featurette gives the writers the chance to talk about the project and their approach to re-adapt the original film. ’Driving School’ shows us how the cast has been trained to drive the minis from the movie and to perform some of the car racing scenes. ’The Mighty Minis’ is a featurette about the Mini Cooper cars – or the Bean Mobile as some may call them – from the film, shedding a bit more light on the cars in particular and how they fit into the overall story.

’High Octane’ is a featurette about the stunts of the film, discussing how the different location posed their own challenges to realize some of the movie’s most thrilling scenes, especially the ones in Venice and in the heart of Hollywood.

Six deleted scenes are also included in the DVD, adding a bit more action to the package, though it is certainly good they have been excised as they would have unnecessarily stretched the film. The DVD is rounded out by the movie’s theatrical trailer.

’The Italian Job’ is a fun filled high-octane movie that gets everything right and takes you on a rollercoaster ride from beginning to end. The DVD offers a splendid presentation of the movie itself, complete with great extras. If you’re a lover of clever heist movies that combine suspense with action, here’s your number one choice. No one does it like ’The Italian Job.’