Film / The Italian Job (2003)

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/the_italian_job_2003_poster.jpg

For the original 1969 film, see here.

The 2003 remake of The Italian Job was directed by F. Gary Gray and stars Mark Wahlberg, Charlize Theron, Edward Norton, Seth Green, Jason Statham, Mos Def, and Donald Sutherland.

It was described by Gray as "an homage to the original". For this reason, fans of the original movie often dismiss it as Fanon Discontinuity. Less stuffy types, however, can take it as a quality action flick in its own right, with simple but effective trope execution, and excellent action sequences.


This film contains the following tropes:

  • Accidental Pervert: Charlie walks in on Stella when she's in her underwear. While she's practicing cracking a safe.
  • Armed Blag: The final heist involves targeting a safe inside a moving armored truck.
  • Artifact Title: Most of the movie takes place in Los Angeles, but it's all set into motion by The Job they did in Italy.
  • Artistic License Cars: After Wrench modifies the cars, he and Charlie are walking past a shelf filled with what Wrench describes as "unnecessary engine parts". On that shelf are three exhaust headers and three crankshafts (along with many other parts) which are absolutely necessary for an engine to run.
  • Artistic License Geography: When the Minis are going down into the underground tunnels, they're supposedly at the Hollywood and Highland station. In reality, they are at the 7th and Metro station, stationed in Downtown Los Angeles, based on the fact that the MINIs jump into the tunnel in front of a Blue Line train.
  • Artistic License Physics: During the planning stages, the crew decides on using MINI Coopers because they fit in the hallways of Steve's house. The cars would fit, but they certainly wouldn't be able to turn the 90 degree corners.
  • Black and Gray Morality: The protagonists are thieves, and not the "Robin Hood" kind, either. But Steve is a brutal thug with no sense of loyalty who casually murders friend and stranger to get what he wants.
  • Boring Insult: Steve is accused of having no imagination after stealing the gold, having spent it on all the things everyone else had wanted, and having had no better plan for said theft than getting some goons and waving a gun on the team's faces.
  • Cable Guy Infiltration: After the men recruit Stella, they set up a plan to infiltrate Steve's house. Handsome Rob first steals a cable company van by flirting with one of their employees, while Left Ear tampers with the cable box so that Steve's TV and modem will not work and Steve will be forced to call to set up an appointment. Stella is used as the infiltrator because Steve doesn't know what she looks like. Using the phony name "Becky," she wears a mini-video camera disguised as a flag pin to allow the men to map up the house layout.
  • Cameo: Well, not quite. Steve is watching The Italian Job on DVD, but all we ever see is a part of Michael Caine so they wouldn't have to pay royalties by showing his face.
    • Also, that really was the creator of Napster playing himself stealing the idea from Lyle in college.
  • Caper Rationalization: "You know it was never about the gold, right?"
  • The Charmer: Handsome Rob.
  • City of Canals: The titular caper is pulled off in Venice at the beginning of the movie.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Steve begs the Ukrainian crime boss not to shoot him. He doesn't intend to. Instead, he plans to show Steve the wonderful tools at his garage...
  • Cool Car: The Aston Martin Vanquish that Handsome Rob plans to buy and that Steve does buy after he steals the money and kills Bridger.
  • The Crime Job: Not only the movie itself, but also its planned sequel The Brazilian Job.
  • Deleted Scenes: Originally, the climactic getaway was a much longer sequence, and two sections were cut that appear as deleted scenes on the DVD:
    • The first sequence sees a bullet-wounded Handsome Rob reluctantly hand over the driving to Left Ear, despite the fact that he can't drive a "stick". After narrowly avoiding pedestrians at the Staples Center, getting stuck in traffic in downtown Los Angeles, and driving into a shop window, Rob takes over the driving. There is proof of this sequence still in the movie: at one point, you can see the spot on the right sleeve of Handsome Rob's coat, and when he's turning the car back around after taking out the second motorcycle, he's only using his left hand to steer.
    • In a final cut, there are a few scenes where Stella's red Mini is not shown. This is due to the cutting of a deleted where Stella breaks away from the others to shake off a police car that spots them and tries to give chase.
  • Double Caper
  • Down L.A. Drain: The film has the heroes driving through the viaducts in Mini Coopers as part of their getaway.
  • The Dreaded: Steve, Skinny Pete, and Charlie's crew are all tough people. And they are all terrified of the Ukrainians.
  • Everything Is Online: Hacking the traffic light system of an entire city to cause a gridlock? Check. However, as Cracked points out, this is actually doable, though the extreme to which Lyle goes probably isn't.
  • Five-Man Band:
  • Fruit Boat: During the opening heist, a pursuing boat accidentally drives up another boat, is launched into the air, and lands in one.
  • Gag Dub: Lyle (Seth Green) does this while Handsome Rob (Jason Statham) chats up a young girl with the aim of seducing her and getting her ID card. Bonus points in that Seth Green improv'd his dialogue.
  • Hack the Traffic Lights: Lyle creates city-wide gridlock.
  • He Knows Too Much: Yevhen, while rambling about gold usage throughout history, stumbles upon the source of the gold Steve's been fencing through his shop. Steve kills him for it. Unfortunately, Yevhen is part of a local Ukrainian crime syndicate, which comes back to bite everyone later. Charlie deals with it easily enough; offering a share of the gold if they'll hide in earshot when Steve enters the train car, upon which Charlie will attempt an Engineered Public Confession. He pulls it off, and Steve is dragged to his fate by dozens of Ukrainians with SMGs to his one handgun.
  • Helicopter Blender: Steve attempts this against Charlie, who's in a Mini, using the tail rotor. Charlie just barely manages to scrape by, but the rotor is ruined by the attempt and the helicopter is grounded, forcing Steve to jack a car to continue the chase.
  • Historical In-Joke: Lyle was the real inventor of Napster, but Shawn Fanning was his roommate and stole his idea while he was napping at his computer.
  • Hollywood Density: Discussed Trope. They have to specially modify the cars to be able to handle the weight of the gold. Also, when the gold is being taken out of Steve's mansion, Lyle is able to figure out which of the three armored cars contains the gold because it's riding significantly lower than the decoys because of the weight of $27 million in gold bricks.
  • Impossible Mission Collapse: The original plan gets foiled by a cocktail party.
  • In-Name-Only
  • Instant Seduction: Handsome Rob flirting with a cable girl so he can get her shirt and her truck to give to Stella so she can infiltrate Steve's house. Lyle trying to get an idea of what the conversation's going like supplies the page quote.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: Averted. Charlie tells Stella that the reason he punched Steve instead of letting her do so is because her hands were too valuable. It's obvious that there are other reasons as well, but since he did in fact hurt his own hand, the explanation is good enough for them to let it go for the moment.
  • Ironic Nickname: Skinny Pete is actually quite obese.
  • Jerkass: Steve has absolutely zero redeeming qualities.
  • Like a Son to Me: Charlie's relationship with John. Stella even notes that Charlie had a much closer relationship with her father than she did.
  • The Mafiya: The Ukrainians.
  • Mission Control: Lyle, especially during the end chase.
  • Model Planning: The thieves build a replica practice course in a warehouse to practice driving their escape route, and also have a CGI animation on their computer of the car as if it were traversing the actual route in real time for no apparent reason.
  • Noodle Incident:
    Left Ear: I don't do dogs. I had a real bad experience, man.
    Charlie: What happened?
    Left Ear: I had a bad experience. Dammit, I'm deaf.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: When arguing against a shootout with armed guards, Handsome Rob doesn't argue morality. He just says "We'd lose." Fortunately, Charlie has another plan.
  • Precision F-Strike: Steve towards the end.
    Steve: What the FUCK happened to my truck?!
  • Reality Ensues: This movie shows what happens when you want to make a quick escape with cars through the streets of a busy city: you will encounter red lights, traffic jams and other obstacles that you will encounter in real life. Cue the counter-plan.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: People complained that hacking a traffic light system like in the film was highly improbable, turns it IS quite possible in real life.
  • Retirony: Bridger is murdered shortly after completing his last job.
  • Ruthless Foreign Gangsters: The Ukranians. The moment it's discovered that they are interested on the heist (because of Steve killing Yehven, who was family of the local don), everybody goes Oh, Crap!. Thankfully, they are not Ruthless enough that they cannot be negotiated with... which Charlie does, sealing Steve's final fate.
  • Smug Snake: Steve, full out. Even if the move with the 'shell game' was clever by Charlie's own admission, both the plan for his counter-caper and keeping the gold away from Charlie's crew come down to having more people using guns on his side (Charlie and Bridger, being both of the Con Man Gentleman Thief breed, absolutely refuse to use them on their plans), which Charlie points out completely 'lacks imagination'. Furthermore, he had no idea of how to use the loot himself, and thus decided to copy everybody else's ideas. Finally, he tries to sell himself off as a master thief when he's only a trigger-happy idiot—this one comes bite him in the ass hard when he kills Yehven.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Steve realizes that he's on a date with Bridger's daughter when Stella uses her father's trademark phrase, "I trust everyone; I just don't trust the devil inside them."
  • Spiritual Successor: Of Kelly's Heroes... sort of. According to the producers, directors, and actors, the gold everyone's interested in stealing in this movie is actually the cut of the gold hauled away by the Nazis in Kelly's Heroes.
  • Stock Subtitle: In the UK, the film was titled "The Italian Job: L.A. Heist" to differentiate from the original film, and to help stem complaints that most of the film takes place in Los Angeles. That being said, if they were going to add the "L.A. Heist" subtitle anyway, why didn't they just call it that in the first place?
  • Take Five: Skinny Pete tells his girlfriend, "Go relax, babe," when he wants to have a private meeting with someone.
  • Technical Pacifist: Charlie and company are proud of the fact that they steal without ever holding a gun. They'll use explosives to blow holes in buildings and streets, they'll go on dangerous car and boat chases, they'll gas people, and they'll hand Steve over to the much more violent Ukrainians, but they won't take any direct actions to hurt people.
  • There Are Two Kinds of Thieves in this World: "The ones who steal to enrich their lives, and those who steal to define their lives. Don't be the latter. Makes you miss out on what's really important in this life."
  • To the Pain: Steve's apparent fate once the Ukrainians take him away, though he is still likely Killed Offscreen.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Parodied. Handsome Rob, whilst trying to drive through the city as fast as possible to time the fastest possible escape route, is the second car in line stopped in the left turn lane at a red traffic light (note, this is a green arrow only turn signal). Unfortunately, the driver in front of him is an actor rehearsing the phrase, "Give me your badge and your weapon; I don't want to see you anywhere near this case (pretends to crush cup)" in such a variety of different voices and emphases while reading off the script itself he fails to notice there's a green arrow, until the very last second when it's turning amber and Rob starts shouting "Hey! It's a green!" and honking at him, so he's the only one that gets to go through, with a very disgruntled Rob saying, "Unbelievable!" in disbelief. Also, bonus if you noticed that the actor copies Rob's accent and decides to use that accent for the audition.
  • True Companions: Charlie's group may be thieves, but they're also family.
  • Villainous Virtues: Mashkov is a brutal torturer and murderer, but he clearly wants to be sure that he tortures and murders the right person. And when presented with an opportunity to use brute force to steal all the gold, he simply takes the case that Charlie has prepared for him and says "I have made my deal." Of course, the person suggesting it was the one who had murdered his cousin, but he could have taken his revenge and still stolen the gold for himself.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Either they steal the gold and get away, or Steve tracks them down and gets taken by the Ukrainians.
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That

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