Saturday, January 12, 2013

Movie Review: The Bank Job (2008)

The Bank Job (2008) directed by Roger Donaldson

The Bank Job (based on a true story) tells of a bank heist ordered by some UK government officials in 1973 to recover compromising photos of a member of the royal family. Wanting deniability, a mid-level official gets his sometimes girlfriend Martine (Saffron Burroughs) to put together a team of robbers who won't know the true objective. The robbers think they're only in it for the money. Lots of other entanglements (like various crime lords and the legitimate police investigation of the robbery) make the job and the getaway a lot more difficult and a lot more dramatic. Jason Stathham plays the guy organizing the heist and trying to keep things together in the fallout afterwards.

The story is pretty interesting. A lot of the complications seem like they'd be contrivances but that "based on a true story" under the title makes them more acceptable. For example, a ham radio operator stumbles on the frequency the robbers are using on their walkie-talkies and the police get involved earlier than anyone expects. The conclusion is satisfying if somewhat more Hollywood than I imagined it would be.

This movie does need some major warnings. First of all, there's a lot of sex and many naked women running around in it. Way too much for my taste. The language is pretty bad (standard R-rated fare). The violence is only occasionally but rough and realistic. Which brings me to the other warning this movie should have. If you're a Jason Statham fan, you might have a certain expectation when it comes to action scenes. He's a great fighter and has lots of style, something my wife and I enjoy seeing in his other movies. There's none of that in this movie. He's a tough guy and does beat up one guy, but no fancy martial arts or fight sequences are on display. He gives a fine performance otherwise.

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