As a heist movie The Italian Job is more predictable than a holdup at Commerce Bank, but it proves that knowing what happens next isn't a sin.
The movie opens with the obligatory caper set-piece -- complete with a plan, introduction of "the team," and a boat chase through Venice. By the time one of the thieves -- Steve (Edward Norton) -- turns on his friends, takes everything and disappears it's not hard to see how things will end. What follows will movie-goers who simply want to be entertained more than happy.
And those 90 minutes move quickly once the audience catches up with master planner Charlie (Mark Wahlberg) a year later - trying to put the team back together and get even. For this he reunites the thug (Jason Statham), the explosives expert (Mos Def) and the nerdy computer programmer (Seth Green, doing comic relief that is hit and miss). It also turns out Paramount needs a female vixen for the audience and the team needs a new safe-cracker for the job -- so it is entirely predictable when all the members of the team welcome Stella (Charlize Theron).
A series of twists and turns send the crew to Los Angeles where they see their original plans foiled and their cover blown - leading to a chess-like showdown between Charlie and Steve which morphs into a high-speed chase with cars and a helicopter. The chase itself -- which was the center of the 1969 film -- isn't quite as awe inspiring as the original, but it is engaging and well filmed.
Ultimately the movie falls short because it has been overshadowed by similar remakes that have come before. Thomas Crown Affair had a better cat and mouse game; Ocean's Eleven had a more star-studded, cool cast; and car chases have been faster (and more furious) in recent memory. The Italian Job doesn't break the mold or beat the classic it's based on - but it is a damn good forgery.