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one of my brother's favorite movies is h . b . halicki's 1974 cult flick " gone is sixty seconds , " one of the best products of the car-chase genre that provided drive-in fare during the 1970's .
chase pics had more tire squeals than dialogue , but they had a strong visceral appeal .
although it boasts a bigger budget and familiar stars , the remake of " gone in sixty seconds " is relatively weak and dull .
randall " memphis " raines ( nicolas cage ) is a retired car thief who runs a go-cart track .
he got out of crime so that his younger brother kip ( giovanni ribisi ) would not take up boosting cars .
however , kip became a thief anyway , and now he's in big trouble .
kip promised to deliver fifty luxury and sports cars to gangster raymond calitri ( christopher eccleston ) by the end of the week .
calitri expects memphis to fulfill kip's bargain ; if he doesn't come through , kip dies .
memphis gathers his old crew ( angelina jolie , robert duvall , will patton , chi mcbride , and vinnie jones ) , and kip brings his boys ( t . j .
cross , william lee scott , scott caan , and james duval ) .
as if calitri breathing down their necks wasn't bad enough , the team is pursued by a cop ( delroy lindo ) who's still ticked off that he never busted memphis and by a rival gangster ( rap star master p ) who wants to take over calitri's clients .
watching " gone , " i discovered that stealing fifty cars is not any more interesting than stealing one .
maybe that's why the first forty-nine are fairly easy , and the thrills are saved for " eleanor , " a 1967 shelby gto , a model that has always eluded memphis .
but the big chase doesn't live up to the long wait .
i had high hopes for " gone " because it is director dominic sena's second film .
" kalifornia , " his 1993 debut , was a brilliant study in the relationship between violence and its audience .
in that movie sena took a simple thriller plot ( a couple gives a serial killer a ride ) and successfully endowed it with deeper significance .
in " gone " he seems to be aiming for a drama about two brothers who can't communicate with each other , but that goal just doesn't mesh with this plot .
" gone " either takes itself too seriously or not seriously enough .
it's not light enough to be fun , or mean enough to be intense .
this chaser has more dialogue than tire squeals but is none the better for it .
the lack of action is a waste of the premise , which should have challenged the filmmakers to create the most spectacular car chases ever .
the weak script is a waste of a talented cast .
in a " newsweek " interview last year , sean penn blasted his old pal nic cage for making bad movies .
much as i like cage , for every good picture he does ( " leaving las vegas , " " bringing out the dead " ) , there are two major stinkers ( " snake eyes , " " con air , " " 8mm , " " city of angels " ) .
that ratio is probably better than what a lot of his peers can boast , but cage has real talent .
it's a shame to waste it in glitzy , superficial tripe like " gone in 60 seconds . "