Top Heist Movies, Part 2

The Italian Job (2003) / Director: F. Gary Gray / Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Edward Norton, Charlize Theron, Donald Sutherland, Jason Statham, Seth Green

A group of crooks plan to relieve a vile former partner of the gold horde he stole from them. Yes, the loot matters, but this is a heist where family, principle and revenge are more important. The action, especially the Mini Cooper chase scenes, is highly imaginative, and the cast chemistry is superb. A sexy, inventive remake of the 1960s original.

The Bank Job (2008) / Director: Roger Donaldson / Stars: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Stephen Campbell Moore, Daniel Mays

Ah, the “foolproof” bank job gone awry, a well-worn trope if ever there was one. Yet done well, it satisfies again and again. And this one is great. Terry (Jason Statham) is persuaded by Martine (Saffron Burrows) to steal millions in cash and jewelry from a room of safe deposit boxes. But the boxes hold other treasures, dirty secrets that could embarrass powerful people, putting our crooked friends in harm’s way.

Inside Man (2006) / Director: Spike Lee / Stars: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer

A street detective (Denzel Washington) and a slick political fixer (Jodie Foster) try to negotiate with a bank robber (Clive Owen) holding hostages during a heist. Of course, there’s more than meets the eye. This one has you rooting for both the cop and the crook. Who will win out? And what’s really at stake?

Out of Sight (1998) / Director: Steven Soderbergh / Stars: George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez, Ving Rhames, Steve Zahn, Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks

A bank robber breaks out of jail, finds mutual attraction to comely US Marshall, and plots his next job (which nicely includes the settling of scores). This is the movie that launched the criminally charismatic Clooney into bona fide movie stardom, not just another TV star struggling to transition to the big screen.

Three Kings (1999) / Director: David O. Russell / Stars: George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube, Spike Jonze

At the end of the first U.S.-Iraq War (aka Desert Storm), four U.S. soldiers go on a treasure hunt for Kuwaiti bullion seized by Saddam Hussein. What they discover are forlorn, abused people who desperately need their protection. We tag along on the sunbaked, surreal adventure and witness our heroes’ frailties and redeeming strengths. The film brought out the worst (fist fights on set) and the best (undeniably brilliant work) in the film’s true antagonists, director Russell and leading man Clooney.