By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By Claire Lawton
By Kiernan Maletsky
By Anna Merlan
But the car chase that appears near the end of Sena's Gone in 60 Seconds is expurgated, proverbial, even dull; turns out Memphis is just really good at driving backward. It ends just as it begins to get good, with Memphis jumping his Eleanor so high and so far, the whole stunt appears to have been computer-generated (and indeed, it was). But it's a shrug of a finale. Memphis disappears, and with him any remnants of thrill-seeking. By the time the chase resumes on a pier crowded with construction workers, bulldozers, and tanks full of gas that whiz around like misguided missiles, it loses its momentum. It becomes confusing (how, for instance, does Delroy Lindo, previously stuck on a traffic-jammed bridge, once more wind up behind Memphis?) and, worse, redundant. Its best gag--a wrecking ball taking out a cop SUV--has already been played out in the film's trailer. By the time it shows up in the film, it's anti-climactic. Gone has nothing on Bullitt, The French Connection II, or, for that matter, Smokey and the Bandit.
Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg (who penned Con Air and worked on Armageddon, uncredited) hasn't written a script; he's penned a litany of nonsensical non-sequiturs ("Calitri's after my brother?" "Like stains on a mattress") and overwrought clichés ("Kip's jammed up bad") and lines so silly that you're forced to take them with a straight face. Otto, explaining his new life as a restorer of cars instead of a stealer of them, tells Memphis, "I'm no longer a destroyer. I'm a means of resurrection." Memphis stares at him blankly: He looks as though he's trying to contain a giggle.
Worse, Rosenberg throws in several extraneous plots, all of which peter out before they're given a chance to play out. An uncredited Master P, mouth full of gold and head full of marbles, shows up as Johnny B, a fellow car thief who insists Calitri's job should have gone to him and his posse. But before Johnny and Memphis' rivalry has a chance to resume, Rosenberg conveniently jettisons Johnny from the film in a slapstick scene right out of Cannonball Run. Same goes for another plot line involving a Latino gang furious that Memphis' gang has taken over their territory; they, too, disappear without good reason. It's as though Rosenberg and Sena aren't convinced the main plot can hold up on its own, so they throw in little nothings meant to distract us, to no avail. As a result, the movie plays like a series of B-sides--all filler, no killer.
Written by Scott Rosenberg
Gone in 60 Seconds. Directed by Dominic Sena. Written by Scott Rosenberg. Starring Nicolas Cage, Giovanni Ribisi, Angelina Jolie, Robert Duval, and Delroy Lindo. Opens Friday.
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