3.5

Charlie (Mark Wahlberg), Steve (Edward Norton) and other members of their gang successfully rob $35 million in gold from a Venetian palazzo but as they celebrate, high in the Dolomites, Steve shows his true colours, shooting the gang's veteran mastermind, John Bridger (Donald Sutherland), and leaving the others for dead. A year later, in America, Charlie makes contact with Stella (Charlize Theron), John's security expert daughter, and she agrees to join him, and the other surviving members of her Dad's gang, to take revenge on Steve and also to carry out an even more daring robbery.

Viewers with fond memories of The Italian Job, the British caper movie directed by Peter Collinson in 1969, needn't fret too much; while it can't boast such an intriguing cast as the first film, a cast that included Michael Caine, Noel Coward and Benny Hill, the new version of the story is high-level entertainment. Director F. Gary Gray seems to have learnt from the mistakes he made on his previous film, A Man Apart. The Italian Job wastes not a moment, the action scenes are directed with precision, the actors are charismatic and even the minis - or at least a new generation of them - are back for the exciting finale. This isn't a major achievement, but it's one of the more proficient action films around at the moment.