Most bank/casino/vault/car heist flicks follow a pretty generic formula (see Ocean's 11, The Italian Job, Gone in 60 Seconds, et al):
- Protagonist decides he wants to steal something.
- Protagonist assembles a team of wacky miscreants, each with their own special "talents".
- More planning. Montage of the team practicing, usually set to driving techno music or Elvis' "A Little Less Conversation".
- As the day draws near, something is discovered that throws a wrench in the plan. Oh noes! Back to the drawing board.
- Cut to the execution. They pull it off using some "OMIGOSH! I cannot believe they just did that!" tactic completely out of left field.
- Everyone lives happily ever after, with no repercussions for their lawbreaking.
So when watching The Bank Job, I was expecting the same cookie-cutter formula, along with Jason Statham beating up random people (ala The Transporter I/II & Crank). I was relieved when my expectations weren't true.
Based on the true story of the Lloyd's Bank robbery in 1971, The Bank Job tells the tale of Terry Leather (Statham), a former criminal now-turned-family man trying to make ends meet. With shady debt collectors breathing down his neck, he's ready for a change. In walks his former love Martine with an offer he cannot refuse...
Martine has intel that a London Bank will be alarm-less over a weekend, and that looting a vault of safe deposit boxes (full of millions of cash & jewelry) would be an untraceable crime. Terry, a desperate man looking for cash, agrees to the gig. Cue assembling the team of wacky miscreants!
The team successfully pulls off the heist without being caught. And then the movie's only halfway over. WHAT?!? The rest of the movie deals with the repurcussions of the heist. Turns out Martine had been hired by the British Secret Service to raid the safe deposit box of a militant revolutionary, to retrieve "compromising" photos of British royalty. Also unbeknownst to the robbers are additional "lewd" photos of high-ranking government officials, as well as ledger books containing payouts to crooked cops, now in their possession. The 2nd half of the movie involves the deposit box owners trying to get their "goods" back from the robbers, and what a wild ride it is!
The movie starts out slow and a bit confusing...a bunch of characters and different subplots are all introduced right at the beginning. I liked this presentation, as it gives you just enough information to keep you interested until you find out what exactly is going on. Some viewers may not like this style, however. Also, accents are fully-British, and at several parts I felt like turning on the subtitles.
But overall, this is a great movie. It breaks the mold of other heist flicks, is thoroughly engaging, and proves that Jason Statham is more skilled than his typical beat-up-everything-that-moves roles would suggest.