1999, PG-13, 112 min. Directed by Jon Amiel. Starring Sean Connery, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ving Rhames, Will Patton, Maury Chaykin.
REVIEWED By Marjorie Baumgarten, Fri., April 30, 1999
There are worse fates than being trapped for nearly two hours with the likes of Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones; they are pleasant to watch and easy on the eyes. But if it's a good heist movie you're after, there are surely better ways to go than with this limp caper. A throwback to the techno-heist movies of the Sixties, it may safely be assumed that Connery (who also co-produced Entrapment) is looking to “bond” with the successes of his past. Although the movie's ending suggests the possibility of sequels, I wouldn't bank on it being a long-running franchise. After her memorable career breakthrough in The Mask of Zorro, Zeta-Jones proves here that she has the right stuff to make it as a confident lead protagonist. Apart from her riveting good looks, she projects an aura of capability and intelligence, qualities that also make her a good match for Sean Connery. The “will they or won't they” question is the film's primary glue as there is little in the way of a compelling storyline to hang this thing onto. The script by Ron Bass (Rain Man, What Dreams May Come, My Best Friend's Wedding) and Austinite William Broyles (Apollo 13, Cast Away) is full of implausible holes and little in the way of subplot distractions. Supporting characters have nothing to do (although Maury Chaykin gives it a good try as the duo's perversely dissolute confederate in Kuala Lumpur). The film's highlight is the elaborate tease Zeta-Jones performs as she slithers her body through a mock-up of a laser zone that protects the item they are stealing. The film slows for this sequence as we are given time to carefully study her “learning curve”: the pace slows down and the camera fades between lingering close-ups of each star (Connery even bites his lip), and the soundtrack is thick with the sound of labored breathing. Chaykin's performance and the mask Zeta-Jones wears to a dress ball are worth tributes of their own, but it's slim pickings when subordinate aspects such as these are the only things worth recommending.