Similarities: Both films involve a car crazy crook with a past looking at a chance for redemption. They also involve brazen police officers who employ no-nonsense tactics to catch these crooks. And since both films deal greatly with redemption it’s no surprise how both films end.
Gone in 60 Seconds is about not being able to escape your past. Memphis Raines (Nicolas Cage) has returned home to save his younger brother Kip (Giovanni Ribisi) from the clutches of British crime boss Raymond “The Carpenter” Calitri (Christopher Eccleston). Memphis is forced to call on the help of his mentor Otto (Robert Duvall) the “auto-mechanic” hardy har har . . ex girlfriend Sway (Angelina Jolie) and numerous other grifters in order to pull off a 50car heist and save his brother. Following the movements of Memphis and his gang our a police duo that in my mind was EXTREMELY well-cast. You have Delroy Lindo as Detective Castlebeck and Timothy Olyphant as Detective Drycoff. Delroy Lindo and Timothy Olyphant!!!! Those two combined are more bad ass then the entire main cast of both films! But I digresss . . . Of course they venture into stealing all the cars blah blah blah . . . things look good . . . things don’t look good . . . cue laughter . . . shit hits the fan . . . shit gets resolved . . . the end.
Fast and the Furious is about seeing the good in the bad. Police officer Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) infiltrates the underworld of illegal LA street racing in hopes of discovering who is behind a recent string of hijackers. He befriends Dominic Toretto and his lowly band of racers including Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and Mia Toretto (Jordana Brewster). After becoming attached to the group he must blur the line between his investigation and newfound allegiances in order to find the real criminals behind the hijacking. They race . . . they race some more . . . Brian O’Conner stands up to The Man . . . they race . . . blah blah blah . . . find out who’s hijacking people . . . defend their on . . . blah blah blah . . . defend honor some more . . . Paul Walker saves the day . . . blah blah blah.
Verdict: I am going to go with Gone in Sixty Seconds. Not to say that The Fast and The Furious wasn’t good at all but I felt it was more MTV then Gone in Sixty Seconds. This most likely has to do with the fact that Gone in Sixty Seconds is based on a 1974 movie called Gone in 60 Seconds. If I’ve learned anything from watching older films it’s that they paid more attention to story structure and character development. Here’s the synopsis:
Insurance investigator Maindrian Pace and his team lead double-lives as unstoppable car thieves. When a South American drug lord pays Pace to steal 48 cars for him, all but one, a 1973 Ford Mustang, are in the bag. As Pace prepares to rip-off the fastback, codenamed “Eleanor”, in Long Beach, he is unaware that his boss has tipped off the police after a business dispute. Detectives are waiting and pursue Pace through five cities as he desperately tries to get away
Now if you have seen the Nick Cage version of the film you can tell just by the description that there are some similarities between the 1974 version and the 2000 version.
Gone in Sixty Seconds isn’t just a common remake though. It is the continuation of the legacy of Henry B. Halicki who wrote, directed, and starred in the original. An avid car collector and successful businessman he set out to make Gone in 60 Seconds with a skeleton of a script, a small crew, and limited resources. After the success of the film he continued his career in film earning the nickname “The Car Crash King”. In 1989 Halicki died in a freak accident on the set of Gone in Sixty Seconds 2. A 160ft water tower rigged to fall during a car chase seen toppled due to a defective cable that snapped and severed a telephone pole which fell on Halicki and killed him instantly. Jerry Bruckheimer in association with Disney, purchased the rights to the story in 1995 and began filming Gone in Sixty Seconds in 1999.
What works with the newest one is that it isn’t a direct remake of the original but more of a rejuvenation which is something I like to see. It takes the basic framework of a well coordinated story and develops it into a modern format. And they did it all without making it all about the “hey look what my car can do” factor like in The Fast and the Furious, which was pretty much just a car show with dialogue. . . and Vin Diesel . . .