Going, Going, Gone

Gone in 60 Seconds

But the car chase that appears near the end of Sena's Gone in 60 Seconds is expurgated, proverbial, even dull; turns out Memphis is just really good at driving backward. It ends just as it begins to get good, with Memphis jumping his Eleanor so high and so far the whole stunt is obviously computer generated. But it's a shrug of a finale. Memphis disappears and with him any remnant of thrill-seeking. By the time the chase resumes on a pier crowded with construction workers, bulldozers, and tanks full of gas that whiz around like misguided missiles, it loses its momentum. It becomes confusing (how, for instance, does Delroy Lindo, previously stuck on a traffic-jammed bridge, once more wind up behind Memphis?) and, worse, redundant. Its best gag -- a wrecking ball taking out a cop SUV -- has already been played out in the film's trailer. By the time it shows up in the film, it's anticlimactic. Gone has nothing on Bullitt, The French Connection II, or for that matter, Smokey and the Bandit.

Screenwriter Scott Rosenberg (who penned Con Air and worked on Armageddon, uncredited) hasn't written a script; he's penned a litany of nonsensical non sequiturs ("Calitri's after my brother?" "Like stains on a mattress"), overwrought clichés ("Kip's jammed up bad"), and lines so silly you're forced to take them with a straight face. Otto, explaining his new life as a restorer of cars instead of a stealer of them, tells Memphis, "I'm no longer a destroyer. I'm a means of resurrection." Memphis stares at him blankly: He looks as though he's trying to contain a giggle.

Worse, Rosenberg throws in several extraneous plots, all of which peter out before they're given a chance to play out. An uncredited Master P, mouth full of gold and head full of marbles, shows up as Johnny B, a fellow car thief who insists Calitri's job should have gone to him and his posse. But before Johnny and Memphis' rivalry has a chance to resume, Rosenberg conveniently jettisons Johnny from the film in a slapstick scene right out of Cannonball Run. Same goes for another plot line involving Latino gang members furious that Memphis' mob has taken over their territory; they too disappear without good reason. It's as though Rosenberg and Sena aren't convinced the main plot can hold up on its own, so they throw in little nothings meant to distract us, to no avail. As a result the movie plays like a series of B-sides -- all filler, no killer.

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