Gone In 60 Seconds (2000) – movie review

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Movie Review by Nigel A. Messenger

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie
Director: Dominic Sena

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a really good action movie with car chases and heroes working outside the law etc, but now GONE IN 60 SECONDS is finally here.

Nicholas Cage plays Memphis an ex-car thief who saw the error of his ways and turned to make an honest living running a go-kart track for kids. But Memphis did not used to be just a car thief, he was the best, the best ever, and his younger brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) has tried, against Memphis’ knowledge to follow in this brother’s footsteps. However while working for a large gang of organised thieves he manages to lose them their haul of 50 exotic cars and they have no way to meet their order deadline.

So it’s his life on the line, unless his older brother Memphis comes out of retirement and steals 50 specific luxury and rare cars in 4 days. Reluctantly Memphis agrees in order to save his younger brother’s life, and proceeds to put together his old team of professionals all who now have retired into honest but unexciting jobs.

Robert Duvall plays Otto, who used to run a ‘chop shop’ now a car restoration garage, is the first to join the team followed by other trusted ex-thieves including a silent Vinnie Jones. Finally Memphis recruits Angelina Jolie who plays Sway his ex-love. As they proceed to carry out their daring plan, old advocates in the form of two police detectives (Delroy Lindow and Timothy Olyphant) become aware that Memphis is back in town and suspect that he is back to his old ways.

What follows can only be described as constant, unrelenting, high octane excitement, as Memphis and his reformed gang of car thieves must race against the clock to save his brother’s life.

GONE IN 60 SECONDS reminds me so much of some of the classic 70’s crime movies where the heroes are the villains, it is after all a reworking of the late H B Halicki 1974 cult classic. In particular one of my favourite 70’s movies is called THE HOT ROCK also known as HOW TO STEAL A DIAMOND IN 4 UNEASY WAYS starring Robert Redford and George Segal. In that film and others like it one’s sympathy for the victims of the thefts is suspended, then the heroes are the thieves, you want them to get away with it, and the cops are there only to add to the suspense that your heroes might get caught.

GONE IN 60 SECONDS achieves another cinema landmark, its car chase towards the end of the film equals the best movie car chase of all time in Steve McQueen’s BULLITT and although I say equal, I think I will go one step further, it is better than the car chase in BULLITT. THE STREETS OF SAN FRANCISCO have been replaced by the streets of LA, Steve McQueen by Nicholas Cage, and that Ford Mustang by a Shelby GT500.

This is one movie that runs for almost 2 hours but it feels like it has GONE IN 60 SECONDS.

6 out of 6 stars