Plot: What’s it about?
Kurt Russel plays Crunch Calhoun, an art thief who hopes to get his old gang of friends back together for one last heist. Sound original so far? Well, it’s not and The Art of The Steal seems to know this right away. More often than not these films feature a thief (or group of thieves) coming out of retirement for their “One last job”. We’ve seen this all before and quite better, actually.Steal features a pretty solid cast all around. I mentioned Russel, but we also get Matt Dillon, Jay Baruchel and Terence Stamp to name a few. All of them deserve a better movie than this. Every time I turn around it seems Matt Dillon is in another direct to video film. I just reviewed Bad Country with him not long ago. I guess the guy doesn’t like to turn down a role, but maybe this looked good on paper? Dillon plays Nicky Calhoun, the half-brother of Crunch. Nicky is responsible for Crunch (Russel) being sent to prison years before and is a bit of a sleazeball (he steals a young girl’s money off the street in one scene), but promises Crunch that it’s not just about the money any more. The film tries for an Ocean’s Eleven kind of vibe, but falls short on a number of occasions. I was never involved with the central plot nor did I particularly care about the characters in any way. Instead, I was mostly bored throughout the entire film.
Part of what drew me to check out this film was reading a few surprisingly not awful reviews. I anticipated having a good time, but got little out of the experience. I’ve always liked Matt Dillon and find him to be an extremely underrated actor, but he doesn’t bring much to this particular role. I can’t really blame him as the role itself isn’t worthy of his talents. The rest of the cast fares about the same. Sometimes a film can fly under the radar and not get a theatrical release and you might wonder why. I didn’t have that question with this film. It’s dull and unoriginal. I’d much rather watch the Ocean’s Eleven remake again before this flick. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if a film isn’t completely original, but there has to be something to draw me in. I didn’t get that here. You have a good cast wasted on a bad film. Watching one of the features on this disc, Director Jonathan Sobol clearly has enthusiasm for the project and mentions how much emphasis is put on the beginning and ending of a film. It’s sad none of that passion comes through on film.
Video: How’s it look?
The image is fine, but not quite as inviting as I’m used to. The colors just aren’t as sharp, but it was never a huge deal and likely intentional. There was strong clarity throughout and a flaw free print though. Details were consistent throughout with no serious issues. Outside of this not being the most eye catching experience, I think this transfer should please the fans. The image is AVC encoded with a 2.40:1 ratio.
Audio: How’s it sound?
The movie has a lot going on (though I didn’t always care WHAT was happening) and the track assists him appropriately. The DTS HD track shows strong range throughout with plenty of usage front and rear. There was a nice natural sound to the whole thing with no real issues to speak of. It’s not the most obvious film to show off your system with, but it does what’s required and that’s good enough.
Supplements: What are the extras?
- Audio Commentary – The Director and Producer sit down and provide their thoughts on the film and various other topics.
- Doing the Crime: Making The Art of the Steal – This is a better-than-average look behind the scenes of the film. There was clearly a lot of passion going into this project. Too bad the final result was lacking.
- The making of “The theft of Mona Lisa” – This looks at filming a flashback sequence and how it was done.