While this film is basically tolerable as a popcorn movie (check your brain at the door, please) it deserves a review for the sheer volume of irritating oversights and technical errors. That and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her ability to portray subtlety and depth is somewhere between Denise Richards (Christmas Jones in The World is not Enough) and a pair of pliers (the pliers, of course, having the better acting skills).The plot was a little wanting. I only knew the movie would be about a thief. During the opening theft sequence I said “So that masked thief is Catherine and Sean Connery is spying on her. Okay.” Then, in the next scene, Catherine is shown working at her job as an insurance investigator researching the robbery. At this point I said “Oh, so she works this job as a good theft cover and she can get privileged information.” About 45 minutes later she finally drops the bomb on Connery with much plot-thickening bravado: “I’m an art thief!” Well, duh… I think the audience was aware of that early on, yet the filmmakers found it necessary to state the obvious (with a lot of hype) at several points in the film.
All that aside, there are plenty of things to nit-pick about. One disturbing thing was Maury Chaykin playing the rich-fat-art-thief-overlord of Malaysia. As if he wasn’t scary enough as the crazy major who relieved himself in his pants in Dances With Wolves, now you get to see him with no shirt on. Buddha cowers in fear at this guy’s physique. However, the worst thing about this movie is the technology.
There is apparent technical wizardry in everything but, like an Ewok beating up blaster-toting stormtrooper with a rock tied to a stick, these filmmaking geniuses forgot to consider obvious non-technical oversights. One neat trick they pulled off in the movie was to use a hand held scanner on a keypad to get fingerprints off the keys. This lets them know what numbers are present in the key code that will unlock a door. However, there is no real way to tell what order the numbers should be entered. They must get more out of this information than I would because they punch those numbers in a random fashion and open the door on the first try.
One of the biggest exercises in unbelievability is their “ultimate” robbery. They attempt to steal eight billion (that’s right, billion) dollars from one of the world’s largest banks. How do you sneak $8,000,000,000 out of a bank you ask? With a computer, of course. Jones has a nifty computer virus that will get it. Apparently the program is a worm that will enter all the bank’s accounts and transact some of the money into her account until she has $8,000,000,000. Okay, hold on. I have no idea how many customers big banks may have, but I still think someone is going to notice. If the bank had eight million customers she could steal from, she would still need $1000 from each of them. Now granted, money can slip through the cracks, but don’t you think at least a couple people out of eight million would notice a $1000 discrepancy? Someone would start looking into this. Also she doesn’t even bother to say she has the obligatory Swiss bank account. The Swiss may not poke into international money matters as much as some, but I think that even some Swiss eyebrows would go up when an account’s balance would jump $8,000,000,000 in thirty seconds. What are they going to say, “I guess she got a raise”?
The last problem is my favorite. An entire half of the movie is dedicated to stealing a multi-million dollar gold mask. This mask is guarded by a vast array of lasers laying out a detection grid, and pressure sensors in its stand. Jones’ training for this heist basically consists of a slow, convoluted dance around and between a simulated pattern of these lasers. Needles to say, when the time comes to steal the mask, training pays off and they beat the high-tech (and probably very expensive) security system by taking 5-10 minutes to do this ridiculous dance. Are you telling me whoever set up this million dollar security system with lasers, pressure sensors and the like would not have invested a couple bucks in a cheap security camera looking right at the mask? Of course not! Then you wouldn’t get to see Jones slinking around like a narcissistic sloth. What’s funny is this didn’t just happen in this scene. Every single time the thief pair did anything time consuming or especially exciting, there was either a fancy security system with no cameras or no system at all. Remember the $8,000,000,000 heist? Apparently the richest bank in the world can only afford cameras in the elevators and lobby. Either that or the writer drinks turpentine on a regular basis.
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