The Italian Job sort of got lost in the shuffle of summer movies, at least as far as I am concerned. I remember seeing a lot of press and advertising but when it actually came out I and my friends overlooked it. It was already out of the large theater rooms when I finally noticed it was out. My first viewing then was of the DVD. I personally am rather glad of that fact as the theater Josh has is so amazing that I truly get more out of watching movies in his place rather than at the theater megaplexes. A number of summer movies that I did see were more rewarding in his theater. With all that in mind I was completely caught up in The Italian Job. It did it job quite well in I got immersed into the film and was entertained just fine. Helping to do that job was a strong transfer and some great audio.
The Italian Job is sort of a loose remake of the first film. The film is quick to the punch and continues to roll along at a nice pace. A good cast that works well together is another plus. The film begins with a team of thieves in Venice out for a big score. The payoff is $35 million in gold. Led by John Bridger (Donald Sutherland), the team consists of Charlie (Mark Whalberg), Left Ear (Mos Def), Lyle (Seth Green), Steve Frezelli (Edward Norton), and Handsome Rob (Jason Statham). One of the team (who you likely know from the trailer) pulls a double-cross and the team is left without the gold and without their leader. The remaining members are out for some payback and get some help from Bridger's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron who looks fantastic). Revenge involves an elaborate robbery and chase sequence that is long, thrilling, and a heck of a lot of fun.
The Italian Job is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. The image is nicely sharp with solid definition throughout the picture. Colors appear well rendered with natural looking hues. Contrast and brightness are worry free as well. The only point of any issue would be that the print has a few nicks and scratches. One expects high quality from a recent Paramount film and that is exactly what you get with The Italian Job DVD.
A Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track accompanies the film to DVD. The track is a very spacious track with plenty going on at all times. Plenty of solid imaging and directional moments are present with the cars zooming around and helicopter flybys. Surrounds are constantly active with both ambient sounds as well as discrete sound effects. The score too nicely gets a boost from all speakers in the mix. Quality and range are up to par with a recent film so no worries there. Dialogue, which should almost be drowned out by everything that is going, is always understandable even during the busiest of action moments.
The Italian Job is marketed as a special collector's edition release. The DVD does contain a number of extras but few have much weight to them and it is doubtful you will ever revisit any of them more than once.
Pedal to the Metal is an 18 minute making of featurette that starts out as mostly fluff but does finally get to a good look at some of the training the actors endured as well as some behind the scenes footage of the bigger stunts getting filmed.
Putting Words to the Page is a shorter look at the screenwriters and their task of adapting the original screenplay and adding in a few modern day elements to make it more current and exciting.
Driving School is another short feature that is a showcase of the actors at a special driving school were they learned how to do some stunt driving since they actually did the majority of their own driving in the film.
High Octane: Stunts is a bit longer at 8 minutes and showcases the difficulty in moving an entire film crew around Venice for the one chase sequence.
The Mighty Minis is a feature on the Mini Cooper cars seen in the film.
Rounding off the disc you can also find 6 deleted scenes as well as a trailer for the film.
The Italian Job as I said seemed to have come and went without much notice. I don't know anyone that actually saw it in theaters. As the film is quite entertaining and truly a few steps above most of the other films that came out this summer, I hope it has a good life on DVD. Paramount doesn't slack off when it comes to their bigger films so naturally the DVD is a sleek job with rewarding video and audio plus it has a better than average number of supplements. Definitely this is one to pick up if you like your action films with some strong chemistry among the actors, a brisk pace, and some witty exchanges. The Italian Job was definitely a surprise hit to me.