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THE ITALIAN JOB ($30) is a highly entertaining and slick caper movie. This reworking of the 1969 film of the same name succeeds enormously thanks to a strong ensemble cast, cool cars, gadgetry, terrific stunts, a bit of humor, plus the effective way the elements of double cross and revenge are worked into the plot. Staring out with a beautifully shot and executed sequence in Venice, Italy, THE ITALIAN JOB tells of heist in which a group of thieves make off thirty five million dollars worth of gold bars. Unfortunately, we quickly learn there is no honor among thieves, with one member of the group getting greedy- thus taking the gold and leaving his companions for dead. A year later, the surviving thieves locate the gold, in addition to the team member that betrayed them. Knowing where the gold is gives our intrepid band of thieves the opportunity to retrieve their "stolen" booty and take a bit of sweet revenge. The fine cast of THE ITALIAN JOB features Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Edward Norton.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made THE ITALIAN JOB available on DVD in a beautiful looking 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The image is very crisp and sports excellent definition throughout. Colors are strongly saturated and the flesh tones are always totally appealing. No matter the intensity of the hues, the DVD never demonstrates any signs of chroma noise or bleeding. Blacks are pure, whites are completely stable and contrast is excellent. Additionally, the picture produces excellent shadow detail and a really nice sense of dimensionality. The film element used for the transfer is nearly pristine, and occasionally displays a bit of a grain structure. Digital compression artifacts are usually very well concealed.

THE ITALIAN JOB comes with a truly fine Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. The sound design takes full advantage of the discrete nature of the format to create a fun and engaging mix. Sound effects effortlessly bounce around the soundstage, invigorating the filmís terrific chase sequences. The forward soundstage creates a sense of spaciousness that effectively wraps around into the rear channels, which add ambient support, as well as active sounds. The bass channel is very solid and adds a real punch whenever required. Dialogue is clean, fully intelligible and very natural sounding. Fidelity is also very good, with the filmís score and incidental songs coming across with a good sense of musicality. English surround and French 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice supplements. Pedal to the Metal: The Making Of The Italian Job runs eighteen minutes; featuring interviews with the cast and crew, as well as a glimpse behind-the-scenes. Putting The Words On The Page For The Italian Job is a five-minute program with the screenwriters, who discuss the development of the screen story. The Italian Job Driving School is another five-minute program that looks at the training the actors underwent to do a bit of stunt driving in the film. The Mighty Minis Of The Italian Job is a five-minute profile of the filmís car of choice. High Octane: Stunts From The Italian Job clocks in at eight minutes and looks at the film impressive stunts and the desire to do things practically, instead of relying on CGI. Six deleted scenes and the filmís theatrical trailer close out the supplements.

THE ITALIAN JOB is a totally enjoyable caper flick, in addition to being a terrific looking and sounding DVD. If you enjoy caper movies, you really canít go wrong with the 2003 version of THE ITALIAN JOB, nor can you go wrong Paramountís fine wide screen DVD. Highly recommended.



The Italian Job (Widescreen Edition) (2003)


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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