It’s round four and the final round of summer blockbusters on ‘To Touchstone and Beyond’. Today we finish our close look at the Jerry Bruckheimer popcorn flicks with 2000’s Gone in 60 Seconds. Fasten your seatbelt because it’s going to be a bumpy ride.  

The Movie

Memphis Raines, played by Nicolas Cage, is a car thief that is living a legal life free from his old days of boosting cars. When Atley, played by Will Patton, shows up telling Memphis that his younger brother Kip, played by Giovanni Ribisi, owes a debt to a very dangerous criminal, Memphis gets forced back into a world he had hoped to have left far behind.

Kip took a job that would have him steal fifty cars for Raymond Calitri, played by Christopher Eccleston, but was thwarted by the cops. Now, Memphis must come home to Los Angeles and do the job within twenty-four hours, or else Raymond is going to kill Kip.

With time ticking away, Memphis assembles his old crew of friends including Donny, played by Chi McBride, and Otto, played by Robert Duvall. Desperate, Memphis even asks for help from his ex-girlfriend Sway played by Angelina Jolie. With the crew reunited they plan their heists of fifty luxury cars from around Los Angeles.

However, with Memphis being back in town he has attracted the attention of Detectives Castlebeck and Drycoff, played by Delroy Lindo and Timothy Olyphant. Castlebeck knows that Memphis is up to something and places him under surveillance.

Under the gun and with only one night to complete the job, Memphis and his crew set out to steal fifty cars, avoid the police, and save Kip. Stealing cars may prove to be the easiest task, while Memphis comes to terms with his past, and plans for a better future for him, his brother, and friends.

The Best

Gone in 60 Seconds is a straight up chase movie. The characters are not complicated, nor are they deep. It’s a simple movie with some fantastic chase scenes and some amazing cars.

Nicolas Cage is fantastic in this movie. He plays his character straight with only a few Nic Cage quirks, and the story benefits greatly from this. Memphis is your regular hero character. Cage plays a very two-dimensional character and that’s just what we need for Gone in 60 Seconds.

Will Patton yet again shines in a supporting role. Here, Patton projects a tough guy attitude, that makes the audience think that his Atley is someone not to mess with. Even his look in the film with greasy longer hair, and his facial hair makes Atley seem like a dangerous man.

Robert Duvall as usual brightens up any film like he does in his supporting role as Otto. Any group of criminals needs the wise older patriarch, and Duvall fulfills the role perfectly. From jumping in with Memphis to help recruit members for the thefts, to crossing off the list as the thefts take place, Duvall doesn’t get much to do in the film, but he does make his presence known.

If you love cars, then this is the movie for you. If you like car chases, then this is the movie for you. Gone in 60 Seconds’ slick high-speed action would help pave the way for a future car series that would premiere a year later, The Fast and the Furious.

Nicolas Cage and Giovani Ribisi are perfect as brothers. They look the age on screen and the way they interact with each other in a scene shows how connected the two actors were at establishing their familial relationship. Both actors establish a brother relationship early on, and only strengthen that screen connection as the film unravels.

The Worst

While Angelina Jolie is a great actor, her character of Sway is completely unnecessary. Jolie doesn’t get as much screen time as you would expect, and when she is on screen, her character doesn’t really contribute anything essential to the story. I think she could have been eliminated from the film and viewers wouldn’t have seen any difference in the story.

Raymond Calitri is a forgettable villain. Christopher Eccleston is great in the role, but it’s hard to fear this guy. We don’t get much as far as a backstory for Calitri, and Eccleston doesn’t get much screen time to help make us fear the wrath of this man. 

Film Facts

  • J.J. Abrams and Jonathan Hensleigh apparently did an uncredited rewrite of the script.
  • The movie is a remake of the 1974 film of the same name.
  • Christopher Eccleston admits that he is not proud of his performance in this film.
  • Nicolas Cage did most of his own stunt driving in the film. While many other cast members were trained for stunt driving, Cage attended two different driving schools in preparation for the film.
  • In 2012, a group of car thieves was arrested in the UK for stealing 39 cars. They called themselves the ‘Gone in 60 Seconds Gang’.
  • Giovani Ribisi was born the same year the first Gone in 60 Seconds was released.
  • Michael Pena has a small role as a criminal named Ignacio.
  • The final chase scene was largely improvised.
  • Apparently, Timothy Olyphant was offered the role of Dominic Toretto in The Fast and the Furious. He reportedly turned it down, because the character and the movie were too similar to Gone in 60 Seconds.  

See It/Skip It?

See It. Unlike some other blockbusters in the Bruckheimer library, Gone in 60 Seconds has likable characters that you can route for, even if they are the bad guys. This is an entertaining movie that is straightforward with a lot of fancy cars and some fantastic car chases.

Next week, ‘To Touchstone and Beyond’ looks at one of the greatest wedding movies of all times, Father of the Bride.

Director: Dominic Sena

Production Company: Touchstone Pictures / Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Principal Cast:

  • Nicolas Cage as Memphis Raines
  • Giovanni Ribisi as Kip
  • Angelina Jolie as Sway
  • William Lee Scott as Toby
  • Will Patton as Atley Jackson
  • Delroy Lindo as Detective Castlebeck
  • Scott Caan as Tumbler
  • T.J. Cross as Mirror Man
  • Chi McBride as Donny
  • Robert Duvall as Otto
  • Timothy Olyphant as Detective Drycoff
  • Christopher Eccleston as Raymond Calitri
  • Vinnie Jones as The Sphynix

Release Date: June 9, 2000

Budget: $90 million

Box Office Gross Domestic = $101,648,571

                      Worldwide = $237,202,299