Saturday, December 19, 2009

“The Bank Job” – They’re not just stealing money.

Jason Statham seems to be becoming this generation’s action star. It’s been several years since we had a dedicated action guy, which is proven by the fact that we are being force-fed more John McClain, Indiana Jones and Rambo, 15 years removed from their latest installments. Hollywood failed when they tried with Vin Diesel, who’s not much of an actor, and completely bombed with The Rock, who should never be allowed on the big screen (see: “The Scorpion King,” or as I like to call it, “A Little Bit of Throw-Up in my Mouth”). Statham has the right look, delivers his dialogue well, and has put together some decent action films recently. Hopefully, his next movie will be as good as this one, and also that he never gets duped into participating in “The Italian Job 2” (‘cause you know it’s coming sometime).

The dangerous thing about movies that are based on real events is that they portray an altered version of what actually happened. “The Bank Job” is based on a bank robbery that occurred in 1971 in London where some guys tunneled into the vault and got away with over four million dollars in cash and valuables. The story was in the newspapers for a few days, but was removed due to a government gag order siting national security. Supposedly, among the items stolen from the safe deposit boxes in the vault were some scandalous pictures of Princess Margaret. This is the main information utilized by the film to create a story. The rest of the minor plotlines are either hearsay or completely fictional, with the exception of the ham radio operator who overheard radio conversations between the thieves. What’s dangerous about this is the audience doesn’t know what is real and what is fictitious, so will probably believe that the majority of what they saw is truth.

Reality aside, this movie is very entertaining. A good blend of action, conspiracy and double-crosses keeps the movie flowing at a high pace without losing the audience. As I said, the main plot of the movie revolves around some photographs of Princess Margaret enjoying herself somewhere in the Caribbean. The audience is treated to naked breasts within about twenty seconds of the start of the movie; faster than any non-porn (and probably most porns). Usually, tits are just thrown into movies for the sake of the males in the audience, but these actually serve a purpose. Well done filmmakers. MI-5 wants to prosecute Michael X, the main bad guy, but knows he has the photos to use as leverage. So, they hatch a scheme to use some amateur thieves to rob the bank and get into the safe deposit box of Michael X and steal the photos. What MI-5 doesn’t know is that this bank seems to be the favorite hiding place for anyone who has something they can later use as blackmail. We are introduced to several of these characters and what they are keeping there, so we are never really in the dark as the movie progresses. Since all of the characters seem to be in over their heads, the most intriguing part of the film is to see what happens to each of them in the end.

There was one thing that kind of bothered me about the plot. Since this was based on actual events, whose details are being kept secret, the writers took the liberty of inserting political commentary in the form of MI-5 doing whatever it took to protect the royal family. What was strange is that everyone seemed to know that Princess Margaret was a dirty little tramp, so why were they so concerned about a few pictures? If you had a radical extremist murderer in custody, would you let him walk to protect a figurehead who has no power and a bad reputation? Me either. Maybe it’s just that we live in a time where famous people doing lewd things are not a big surprise, but I’d think MI-5 has better things to do than to make sure the public doesn’t see the royal nipples. However, for the sake of entertainment, this was a good plotline. It’s the type of thing that keeps us going back to see James Bond flicks or any movie involving a conspiracy.

Rating: Don’t ask for any money back. At the very least, you saw a record-breaking film in the category of breasts.

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