"Gone in 60 Seconds"

Super-producer Jerry Bruckheimer on his genius: "I do it to entertain people." So where are all the car chases?

Published January 9, 2001 8:00PM (EST)

"Gone in 60 Seconds"
Directed by Dominic Sena
Starring Nicolas Cage, Angelina Jolie, Giovanni Ribisi
Touchstone Home Video; widescreen (2.35:1 aspect ratio)
Extras: Making-of featurettes, highlight reel, interview with producer, trailer, music video

"Gone in 60 Seconds" is remarkably flaccid for a big-budget action pic. This is a movie about stealing 50 cars in a single night, and all but one are boosted virtually without incident. Nobody gets hurt. And although Angelina Jolie is the love interest, leading man Nicolas Cage can't get past first base.


This is not a film that was crying out for a remake; the 1974 original directed by H.B. Halicki wasn't exactly a milestone in cinema history (although it did have the distinction of totaling about 90 vehicles). In the new version, Memphis Raines (Cage) comes out of car-theft retirement when a not-very-menacing gangster threatens to do in his inept younger brother (Giovanni Ribisi). To get Little Bro off the hook, Raines must deliver 50 stolen cars to the Long Beach port in a single night. With the help of a lovable crew of felons, he does.

"A great car movie, a great chase movie, hasn't been around," producer Jerry Bruckheimer says on the DVD. "So it's time to do one." The clock's still ticking on that score. "Gone in 60 Seconds" has all the Bruckheimer hallmarks -- it's loud, it doesn't dwell on characterization and never lets plot get in the way of action sequences -- but this one is utterly lacking in the popcorn appeal of such other offerings as "Armageddon" and "Con Air." That "Gone" features only a single chase scene is an astounding misstep. What, did the filmmakers think too many car chases would distract from the metaphorical exploration of spiritual redemption through grand theft auto?

The DVD includes no fewer than three behind-the-scenes featurettes about "The Big Chase," plus lots of stuff about how the stars took special driving classes to appear convincing on the road. In an interview segment, Bruckheimer waxes lyrical about his producing skills: "It's been said my pictures have grossed about $11 billion, which means what I'm doing people like, and that's what I do it for. I do it to entertain people." The interview includes scenes from most of Bruckheimer's movies, including the yet-to-be-released "Pearl Harbor," but not a single glimpse of "Gone in 60 Seconds."

Maybe they didn't want to steal any thunder from the DVD's "Action Overload" extra -- a music-video-style mish-mash of random scenes from "Gone" set to a thumping heavy-metal score. There's no story, no characters. Just noisy, in-your-face pyrotechnics. It's the perfect Bruckheimer film, in other words.

By David Lazarus

David Lazarus covers business and technology for the San Francisco Chronicle.

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