as reviewed by Skylaire Alfvegren
Car lovers would get a better high sucking on the tail pipe of a chopped '48 Mercury, or keying producer Jerry Bruckheimer's personal vehicle than fidgeting in a dark theater while Nicholas Cage makes eyes like a basset hound and tries to walk like Clint Eastwood. Somebody snaked the battery out of Gone in 60 Seconds, a lemon about stealing cars that makes visiting the DMV exciting in comparison.
Gone, a remake of H.B. Halicki's 1974 original of the same name, has less action than a Shriners 4th of July motorcade. Has the era in which we live sucked all the felonious excitement out of car theft and replaced it with middling drama about a dysfunctional family? It's not about horsepower, it's about a brother's love.
Notorious ex-car thief Memphis Raines (Cage) returns to the biz after his estranged younger brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi, looking even more junk sick than he did in Boiler Room) fouls up a deal to deliver 50 exotic cars to The Carpenter (Christopher Eccleston), a criminal mastermind with a yen for woodwork and homicide.
Raines recruits his old posse, each endowed with a special, superheroic skill and loads of personality–even The Sphinx (Vinnie Jones), a cryptically silent ballbuster who gave up "boosting" to work at the morgue.
Kip's similarly individual hoodlum friends cover the new-fangled anti-theft technology, including Toby (Scott Caan), a super-hacker who breaks into the DMV mainframe and decodes laser cut keys, and Mirror Man (TJ Cross), whose magic bag of hi-tech tricks keep the police off their trail. Two generations of hoods joining forces to save one of their own. They bond so well that they spend more time in the body shop of Memphis' mentor, The Jackal (Robert Duvall) than actually stealing cars. It's heartwarming.
Watch as Cage and former partner Sway (pillow-lipped Angelina Jolie) snap photos of the cars they're eventually going to steal. Watch members of the group stake out car dealerships, weasel around parking lots and elude a detective team that trails them in a minivan. But forget about car chases– they're for action movies.
The cars are sharp–Lamborghinis, Ferraris, an assortment of classics and a trio of Mercedes, which are, according to the boys, "the ultimate cars to steal." But they're barely in the frame, let alone driven at full throttle with the fuzz on their fenders. There is some chrome n' exhaust dialogue ("what kind of girl drives a '69 Hemi Cuda?"), but we're mostly treated to the lead actors' mugs. A thoughtful car dealer warehoused half the cars on their list, which the thieves drive out, single file, nice and orderly. The only car chase comes at the film's end, as Raines boosts a '67 Shelby Mustang GT 500 (the star of the original Gone) and Cage flexes his eyebrows. In true Bruckheimer style, it all goes kaboom in a shoot-out between the detectives and The Carpenter. But there's honor among thieves, as the group celebrate their prowess with an after-work picnic. Someone should have cut the motor on this clunker before it rolled out of the studio–car enthusiasts will be crying in their radiator fluid.