Unrated Extended Edition

Review by Gordon Justesen

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi, Delroy Lindo, Will Patton, Christopher Eccleston, Chi McBride, Robert Duvall
Director: Dominic Sena
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Surround
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1
Studio: Disney/Touchstone
Features: See Review
Length: 127 Minutes
Release Date: June 7, 2005

“Are you ok?”

“Yeah, I think so.”

“Are you sure? Cause you just went through a wall.”

Film ***

Every year, or rather every summertime it seems, audiences are treated to the super-charged, kinetic frenzied, action packed movies of producer Jerry Bruckhiemer. In the past decade, Bruckhiemer has produced some of the most successful action movies, including ones he produced with longtime partner Don Simpson, who died in 1996. Such films include Crimson Tide, Bad Boys, The Rock, Con Air, Enemy of the State, Armageddon, Remember the Titans and Pearl Harbor.

Bruckhiemer seems to get more attention than most producers do, most likely because about all of his movies are about the same, frenetic, blazingly intense, and purely high-octane action extravaganzas. If a film carries his name, as well as his fierce, thunderous movie logo, chances are the movie is the same, and Gone in 60 Seconds is truly of film of that nature.

It’s a rousing entertainment package that is the epitome of perfect summertime entertainment. It won’t give you much to think about, but the eye candy and blazingly loud noise of the film will surely glue you to your seat. To this day, I still find this high-powered action chase movie far superior to both Fast and the Furious movies.

The movie moves as fast as the 67 Shelby that plays a huge part at the movie’s end. Former retired car thief Randall “Memphis” Raines, played by a fiery and irresistible Cage, is soon forced back into the world he once left behind. His young brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) has run into a serious debt with a local crime lord named Raymond (Christopher Eccleston).

Persuaded by a former partner in crime (Will Patton), Raines attempts to get things straight and save his brother from harm, but Raymond will only let Kip live if Memphis does a job for him. The job is to steal 50 selected cars in four days time, or Raymond will have Kip killed. Although Kip got himself into this mess, he somewhat blames Memphis for leaving him and his mother and moving away when he retired from his former profession.

Another thorn in Memphis’ side is Detective Castlebeck (Delroy Lindo) who pursued Memphis before he went straight. Once he sees Memphis back in LA, Castlebeck immediately suspects that he’s up to no good. He warns Memphis that he will be keeping a close eye on him, and that if he even attempts to jaywalk, he will put him away for good. 

Soon enough, Randall hooks up with his former partner (Robert Duvall), and they assemble a group of car thieves, which include a disgruntled driving school instructor (Chi McBride), a monstrous non-speaking presence known as The Sphinx (Vinnie Jones), and Memphis’ former flame (Angelina Jolie), who as gone straight working as a bartender. Kip also brings in some friends of his to help out, and the crew begins to go to work. In order to keep the job as low profile as possible, the thieves wait until the night before the deadline. 

This isn’t the sort of movie where one would seek any form of character development. It carries the Bruckhiemer tradition of quick camera cutting, fast paced individual scenes, and some hard edged dialogue, not to mention many moments of genuine humor. It’s a very fun movie indeed, but I do have a couple of quibbles.

The first is the movie’s villain. To get an idea of how menacing a movie villain is, I feel he needs to have more screen time. This movie’s villain, played by British actor Eccleston only appears in the film in two key scenes which strangely find themselves in the beginning and end of the movie. He’s seen threatening Memphis’ brother, and is not seen until the movie’s climax takes place.

The other problem I had was a corny subplot involving Memphis eluding the clutches of a rival car thief, played by rapper Master P, who should definitely consider keeping his day job. He utters the movie’s most pathetic line when chasing Memphis and Kip to a diner where some cops are. He then looks at his crew, who is armed with guns, and asks “You boys ready to play a little pin the tail on the donkey?” What in the world is that question supposed to mean? However, I did garner a laugh buy the end of that scene which redeemed it.

The movie also redeems itself enormously with one of the most fantastic car chases ever captured on film, in my opinion. It has the Memphis being pursued by the cops in a 1967 Shelby Mustang, the last of the 50 cars he has to steal. The car, who Memphis has named Eleanor, speeds through downtown LA, alleys, and hits up to 160mph while in drainage ditch, and Memphis even eludes a police chopper by entering a tunnel underneath an airport, where the chopper is unable to interfere with air traffic. And just when you think the chase is over, it isn’t. Memphis leads the cops through a work site, where a gas tank is hit and seems to fly in every single direction, and it’s a hoot watching the mustang speed through out of the gas tank’s path. It also leads to an outrageous stunt on a bridge, which I won’t spoil because it simply has to be seen.

So in short, Gone in 60 Seconds is worth seeing for Cage’s sparkling charisma, it’s often funny moments, and of course, the near 30 minute car chase that would make a terrific movie all its own. It’s not the best of the Jerry Bruckhiemer bunch, which includes The Rock, Bad Boys II and Enemy of the State, but certainly doesn’t rank with the worst of bunch, such as Flashdance, Dangerous Minds and Coyote Ugly. No, this one ranks in Bruckhiemer’s good enough to recommend category, which would also include Con Air, Top Gun and Days of Thunder.

BONUS: Nicolas Cage did a great deal of his own stunt driving in the movie.

Video ****

This movie first hit DVD shelves less than five years ago, and I quickly labeled it as one of the best looking discs of the year, and this extended version, complements of Disney, hasn’t changed a single bit of the glorious presentation. The anamorphic picture works in just about every different type of shot, be it a nighttime shot or a bright as can be daytime shot. In both cases, what you get is a sharp, dynamite level of crisp imagery. Colors are most fantastic, as well.

Audio ****

To simply put it, this movie was made for DVD in terms of the sound quality. When originally released, I hailed this as the best sounding disc of 2000, and the fast and furious 5.1 mix wins the checkered flag once again. There is never a moment of dullness in this presentation, as there is plenty to keep the channels occupied as far as set pieces, dialogue, music playback, and roaring engines are concerned. When the Shelby GT kicks into high gear for the climatic chase, hold on tight! Quite simply an awesome sounding disc!

Features ***1/2

With some minor adjustments made, Disney has tricked out this DVD to an even higher status in the features department. To start with, the film itself has been injected with a fueling 10 extra minutes of new footage. Featured amongst the extras is “Zero to 60”, a Script to Screen Featurette, “The Big Chase”, a Behind-the-Scenes look at the Thrilling Chase, “Stars on the Move”, Character-Driven Featurettes. Also included is"Acton Overload", a music video style highlight reel of key sequences, “Wild Rides”, a Car Stunts Featurette, and “Conversations with Jerry Bruckheimer”. Lastly, there is a Theatrical Trailer, some bonus previews, and a music video for The Cult’s “Painted on My Heart”.


Hardcore, check-your-brain-at-the-door entertainment doesn’t get any better, and faster, than Gone in 60 Seconds. If you’ve forgotten just how monumental this movie is to experience on DVD, you should check out this new Unrated, Extended Edition courtesy of Disney.

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