Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The Bank Job

So We Have Fire

If I remember it rightly, the very first time I saw Jason Statham star in a movie, it was in Guy Ritchie's Snatch, and since then he's had his fair share of crime capers ranging from the remake of The Italian Job where he starred as Handsome Rob, to mindless, high octane action movies like The Transporter series where he's the star vehicle (pardon the pun). While these movies can't possible earn him any action awards, you can't deny the fact that this guy's pretty charismatic in his own right, and I've no qualms about watching him play characters on either side of the fence, taking on his opponents in Crank or War, holding his own opposite Jet Li.

While we await for the next installment of The Transporter or Crank, or The Brazilian Job, his The Bank Job sure took longer than expected to make its way to our shores, where the DVD should be released later this week. But as always, I'd recommend to watch this bank caper on the big screen. Don't expect plenty of Statham's signature moves when he takes on his opponents here, as he relies pretty much on his wits in order to survive a web of tangled intrigued where a simple open and shut case of a bank heist, turned out to be much larger than his team could digest, involving, check this out - high ranking government officials, the royal family, the British secret service, local neighbourhood cops, local neighbourhood crooked cops, gangsters, brothel owners, a society rebel, and an old flame. Phew!

Based loosely on the Baker Street Llyods Bank robbery in 1971, Statham stars as Terry Leather, a two-bit lowly crook who's given an opportunity by Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) to break into the said bank, given inside information about the bank's security systems, and unknown to Leather, having the heist unofficially sanctioned by people in the right places. The job is simple, to break into the bank vault where the safe deposit boxes are, and make away with everything inside. But of course the real value lies in some incriminating photographs found within the boxes, and I thought this played out like The Inside Job.

Only that it doesn't primarily take place from within the bank most of the time. The Bank Job covers a much larger spectrum, of conspiracies and trust issues between the members of the heist, as well as between shady characters who each have their own agenda of self-preservation. With plenty of dirty little secrets hidden snugly inside those safe deposit boxes, their respective owners while having a sense of fear permeate through their bones upon hearing the news, more so want to uncover the culprits, and recover their assets. It tells of the unwanted trouble and attention brought towards the perpetrators, as they realize that their apparently simple job, turns out to be a Pandora's box.

If this was enacted based exactly on case files, then you can't help but to chuckle at how sometimes Fate and just plain silly luck would shine upon the players of the game, and enable coincidental circumstances to happen in order to have everything work out in a certain favour. And in either half of the story, from the enactment to the untying of the knotty situation they're stuck in, The Bank Job fulfills in keeping things light, funny, and given the many shenanigans that politicians get themselves into, it just reminds you that some things don't change.

Those looking for elaborate plans and probes in heist movies Ocean's Eleven style will be disappointed, but if you're looking for something leaning toward spy versus spy stuff and one-upmanship, with a classic underdog story to boot, then The Bank Job should already be in your must-watch list this week!

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