In this remake of the 70's car chase flick of the same name, Nicolas Cage plays Randall 'Memphis' Raines, former car thief legend, who is forced to come out of retirement to save his kid brother from the real bad guy, who runs a car-fencing syndicate. Memphis must find a way to steal and deliver 50 exotic cars to the syndicate before the deadline four days later, or his brother will be killed.
The idea of a crook being the story's hero is kind of a trend in Hollywood right now. It's been seen in Entrapment, Payback, The Thomas Crown Affair, and now here. The 'thief as hero' or 'anti-hero' formula has replaced the 'renegade cop' formula of the 70's and 80's, but is essentially the same idea. This formula contends that honor and justice are above the law, and Gone In 60 Seconds follows that line of thinking.
I had expected wall-to-wall car chases from this movie, but, surprisingly, that wasn't the focus of the story. The brightest moments cpme not from vehicular carnage, but from the strategies used by Memphis and his car-boosting team, as well as the strategies used by the police detectives who are on their trail. There were some great moments as each side of this cat and mouse game shows frustration over the entire process. Also, a subplot concerning another gang, who aren't at all happy about Memphis' return to the car-boosting arena, yields some amusing scenes. Another subplot, regarding the strained relationship between Memphis and his younger brother isn't very convincing, but does provide Memphis' motivation for what he hopes will be his final big heist.
Strangely, the villian of the film, the syndicate leader, is the least interesting character. Virtually every one of his scenes exists only to show him doing something evil to someone, just so the audience knows without a doubt that he's the bad guy. He is there to create the threat, and nothing more. Apparently, he wasn't important enough to the story to be given anything more memorable to do or say!
Apparently, the writers couldn't think of an ending for the film either, since they give us one of those 'Big-Shoot-Out-In-A-Warehouse-Factory-With-Pipes-
And-Catwalks-That-Fall-Apart-So-The-Hero-Has-To-Hang-By-His-Fingertips' type finale. (We have all seen that before, right?)
Gone In 60 Seconds could have been an empty retread of it's 1974 counterpart, but actually is an improvement over that film. It's still pretty empty, as far as dialogue and depth of character, but for a one-dimensional summer rollercoaster, it makes for a good deal of matinee fun! Oh yeah, and the cars are pretty cool, too!