|Available at Amazon.com|
Jason Statham is doing the sorts of films that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson ought to be doing if he wanted to be the biggest action star in the world. From the remake of Death Race to the Crank and Transporter franchises, Statham is the best thing we have in terms of a legitimate action star in the modern era of action films.
Statham has become an unlikely action hero with a solid box office resume. His latest was one of the better reviewed films of the first half of the year and easily the best film he’s ever been associated with.
The Bank Job is a throwback to a heist films the ‘70s, a fictionalized tale of the Baker Street Robbery that garnered a “D-Notice” from the British government. He stars as Terry Leathers, a small time crook trying to go straight with a car repair shop. Fate intertwines when an ex girlfriend (Saffron Burrows) clues him onto the robbery of a bank on Baker street, to which he and his gang of miscreants conspire to break into the bank and rob the safety deposit boxes. Unbeknownst to Terry, he’s been set up by MI5 to grab some unsavory pictures of British Royalty being used in a blackmail scheme by a black militant. Throw in some shady figures with evidence to expose crooked cops and you have one of the better heist films of the decade.
That moniker isn’t something that’s hard to earn, however, considering that the only heist films worth a darn to be released have been the Ocean’s trilogy, but The Bank Job succeeds merely be keeping it simple. The film is straightforward in how it handles its story; there’s no lengthy introduction or exposition. We’re given our characters, our circumstance, the heist and Donaldson moves the film from there. By keeping it simple and avoiding the cutesy sort of shenanigans that plagued the Ocean’s films, The Bank Job keeps it entertaining by keeping the focus on the heist and its aftermath. It’s a straightforward story and is effective because of it.
Statham is also in terrific form as well. While not to be confused with a performance to win any awards, it is one of his best performances to date. It’s interesting to see Statham the actor as opposed to Statham the British Martial Artist; his charisma and ability come through and we care about his character because of it. We want Terry to beat the odds because his character is well-written and Statham’s performance brings it out marvelously.
The film’s other main strength is its relentless pace. This is a film that moves fast and doesn’t delay for any reason. Donaldson wisely takes care of all the subplots effectively, wrapping them up when needed, and spices things up by adding in some character development as the film progresses. Everyone has a role on the team, obviously, but Donaldson shows why everyone is doing what they’re doing on more than a superficial level. It’s refreshing and makes the film more colorful to have little character traits emerge on their own, unforced, as opposed to cramming them early on to establish a reference point.
Allegedly based on a true story which was shut down by the British government due to the sensitive nature of documents stolen, the film’s script is taken from anonymous sources familiar to the event and conjecture. While its veracity for the truth may be in large dispute, there’s no disputing that The Bank Job is a markedly good film.
Presented in a Dolby Digital surround with a widescreen format, the film has an amazing transfer. This is a wildly colorful and interesting film, with lots of good scoring, and everything comes in wonderfully.
Inside the Baker Street Raid is a behind the scenes look at the actual robbery itself. Using actual crime scene photographs and the scenery from the time itself, crime historians and people in the era talk about what actually happened. It’s absolutely fascinating to see the actual reality compared to what the film dramatizes, as everyone apparently knew what happened because they had left most of their materials behind with them. It’s absolutely fascinating to see the real facts behind the robbery as well as the speculation about it.
Inside The Bank Job is a brief making of featurette about the film. Nothing of real note is said, though it is interesting to hear about the reasons why Jason Statham came aboard.
Deleted / Extended Scenes feature commentary from Donaldson, Burrows and composer J. Peter Robinson. There’s also a commentary from the trio on the main film as well.
The film’s Theatrical Trailer is provided, as well as trailers for Bangkok Dangerous, The Forbidden Kingdom, Rambo, War, Chaos, Crank and Confidence listed under the Also from Lionsgate heading.
A Digital Copy of the film is available as well.
With Death Race giving us our other Statham fix for 2008 in August, The Bank Job is easily his best film to date and one of the best of the year.
Lionsgate presents The Bank Job. Directed by Roger Donaldson. Starring Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays, James Faulkner, Alki David, Michael Jibson, Georgia Taylor. Written by Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais, George McIndoe and Aaron Shuster. Running time: 112 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: July 15, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.