If you separate each element of 2000’s Gone In 60 Seconds, they are all bad. But together, they are a symphony of hilarious scenes roughly compiled to space out the explosions and fist fights with random car trivia, making it somewhat relatable and easy to hate watch.
(Welcome back to Jalopnik Movie Club, where we take a look at cars in movies and movies about cars, and you write in with all of your hot takes. This week, we’re reviewing Gone In 60 Seconds, a movie about fist fights, explosions and fetishized Mustangs.)
There is so much going on in Gone In 60 Seconds I do not know where to begin. The movie itself opens with a musical graphics sequence that is over three minutes long. It’s obvious this movie comes from a pre-streaming-service period of time—where someone would back out of the movie or skip ahead today, Gone In 60 Seconds had the advantage of having you locked in a theater after paying full admission price.
This is probably the most car-movie car movie the Jalopnik Movie Club has reviewed so far. There are approximately a dozen car-related crimes taking place during nearly every frame. The barrage of car stuff is unwavering.
The characters test each other on famous TV car trivia. Every single person is a washed-up criminal turned honest mechanic. The characters claim they steal cars not for the money, but for the experience of driving the various models. There’s a scene where Nicolas Cage describes Angelina Jolie using car adjectives while making out with her—in a car. When it comes to being a movie about cars, this one can’t shut up about it.
Like always, Cage’s acting makes it seem like he’s either playing a character with multiple personalities, or he thinks he’s playing multiple character’s roles in the movie. His line readings are unpredictable and just off, leading to some of the best moments of the movie. “Let’s ride!” It’s a thrilling viewing experience.
The vaguely European bad guy in this heist/action flick is called “The Carpenter,” a ridiculous and over-the-top character who is earnestly in love with his various wooden creations (with no real relevance to the plot beyond him landing in the coffin he built at the end), who seemingly has a disorder that makes him monologue at every possible opportunity.
The actual driving and action scenes themselves are successful at conveying action. By the end of the movie, Cage’s interior shots driving Eleanor, the inanimate Shelby GT500 he has a love and hate relationship with, seem legitimate. At least until he jumps the ambulance.
What’s really sad about the movie is that it seems like an earnest story about a gang of criminals pulling off the biggest heist of their lives and then retiring to a nice, honest and quiet life of law-abiding goodness, except played in reverse.
Gone In 60 Seconds is the intersection of the worst of Fast & Furious, the worst of Law And Order and the worst of the Michael Bay or Tony Scott genre of relentless action movies compiled into something inexplicably enjoyable.
That’s all from me, now let’s hear from those of you that emailed with your thoughts, opinions and hot takes about Gone In 60 Seconds:
A fun and fantastic heist movie with some great chase scenes... ruined by the most ridiculous jump at the end. What were they thinking? I know Nicholas Cage dearly wanted to be Superman, but this flying Mustang was a poor substitute.
An American Unicorn distracted me from Nick Cage’s over-the-top acting.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for the buildup to Memphis Raines hopping on that proverbial bucking bronco of a car, this movie would be all but forgettable to me.
Gone in 60 seconds made an American muscle car outshine exotics like the Lamborghini Diablo and a Jaguar XJ220. This was done on purpose, of course, to give life to an otherwise inanimate car. Even without any direction, the Mustang name, on its own, already conjures up images of something unruly, needing to be tamed.
The story about Raines taming a unicorn came off a bit cheesy to me, not to mention that otherworldly music they played every time Memphis Raines got near, but it really did hype me up for its chase scene.
Sure, purists will balk at the wacky looking side pipes and the wheels being two inches larger than stock but 2003 me who knew nothing about Mustangs watching reruns on TNT wasn’t really the nitpicky type. The only thing I thought was, “That Mustang looks pretty slick.” Later on, I found out that it was a Chip Foose design, so that makes sense.
The driving scenes are arguably derivative of other movies but it’s not like anyone’s seriously keeping a tab. Outrunning a helicopter reminded me of the proliferation of NOS in early 2000s films and I was willing to overlook the feasibility of surviving a jump off a ramp truck thanks to a fun chase scene reaching its climax.
I don’t see myself watching this movie again. But by chance, if that big box store is playing this on their flat screens, I’ll definitely stand and watch it just for the last chase scene.
In this movie we see the following: A man plays with a ball, a woman drinks a shot, and a dog eats some keys.
“… Okay, Lets Ride!” Confession; I’ve watched this movie countless times. Enough that I could’ve wrote this review without seeing it again. Is redux Gone in 60 Seconds a great film? No. However it does manage some weird form of connect and entertainment with me. Certain aspects hit home. This is a straight shot film that holds no surprises. It is a criminal vs. criminal film with police usually one step behind the car thieves.
What really holds me is the connect Memphis has with the vehicles. Specifically when he is explaining to Kip why he started boosting vehicles: “I didn’t do it for the money, I did it for the cars”. It’s actually a rather moving notion, one that could be nefariously applied for me every time I see a machine stuck in climate-controlled garage with a static odometer. The other is the bond with Eleanor. The infatuation is rather striking, as is the personification when Memphis breaks the mirror. This is particularly interesting in that it gives the machine a soul, something that’s relatable and uncanny if you’ve ever dealt with an older vehicle or machine.
The bad? Well, this is definitely not the top of anyone’s acting resume. The law enforcement is written a little bit dim witted in order to progress and fulfill the plot. The actual boosting of most of the cars makes no sense technically. Pretty much they get the door open, voodoo wire cutting or shorting occasionally mutes an alarm, some magic happens (apparently ECU change, starter jumping or ignition pulling) and they are able to drive away. In addition, some of the jokes are a bit witless as is the Johnny B and ‘gang’ pop ups. There is also a goof where the XJ220 is crossed off when Donnie steals a XJ sedan (though the XJ220 shows up later in the night).
Gone in 60 Seconds features a heavy cameo based list with short shots of many different cars on the late ‘90s dream list. It actually does a good job of incorporating vehicles into the film and doesn’t stagnate for long periods without showing something. The chase with Eleanor is well done, as are the stunts and carnage throughout the film. The references to the original released in 1974 are surprisingly numerous as well.
Movie: It’s a C. The film has its moments but overall unless you’re into cars it’s not really that enjoyable.
Car Movie: Vehicles and references are featured potently throughout the film and it features a great chase with a known star car Eleanor, it’s an A.
(This is where I’d like to apologize for the week-long delay for this Movie Club installment. The auto show kicked my ass. We’re back on for next week! See below.)
And that wraps it up for this week’s Jalopnik Movie Club review! Thank you to everyone who wrote in with their takes, which I encourage you all to do for next week!
Speaking of next week, we’ll be reviewing the Speed Racer movie, which is on Netflix this month, so be sure to get it watched and collect your thoughts, and write in with your opinions and hot takes to Justin at jalopnik dot com, formatted something like this:
Subject: Jalopnik Movie Club
Body: [Your Kinja username if you have one!]
[Your hot movie take!]
[A movie suggestion for a future review!]
In the meantime, sound off below about the good and bad of Gone In 60 Seconds and all of its bad line reads and over the top action scenes, and see you all next week!