ENTRAPMENT - Blu-ray review

Follows the familiar formula of a heist film, but Connery, Zeta-Jones, and the Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur are enough to elevate it.

James Plath's picture

This pre-Millennial movie features a pair of twin towers: the impressive Petronas skyscrapers of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones--two stars with mega sex-appeal. Though the screenplay fits the standard heist formula, it's these towering presences that loom large in an otherwise ordinary film.

In his reviewof the first dvd release, John J. Puccio felt the stars were "trapped in a series of nonsensical shenanigans and whiz-bang hardware wars." I happened to like that aspect of the film. As one who still feels that Connery was the best Bond, I enjoyed seeing him go through his double-ought paces again at the ripe old age of 69, with gizmos and stunts that only a world class secret agent (or thief) could handle.

Connery stars as Robert "Mac" MacDougal, an internationally known art thief who was filmed sitting in the audience at a Rembrandt auction, apparently "marking" where the painting will go. For the first fifteen minutes the scenes shift quickly from Kuala Lumpur (where we witness a spectacular heist of the Rembrandt) to Waverly Insurance in New York, then to London, and finally the castle in Scotland where MacDougal lives. Zeta-Jones plays Virginia Baker, a Waverly agent-analyst who grabs her data and tells her former FBI-agent boss (Will Patton) she's got things under control. She'll get that Rembrandt back, using a priceless mask of China as bait. But the mask is small potatoes compared to a bank job in Malaysia they're going to tackle.

Before you have time to question a plot that prompts it fair share of huhs?, Virginia quickly establishes contact (and rapport) with Mac, and the two of them join forces. He catches her following him and knows she's working for Waverly, but chooses to believe that she's turned against the insurance company and is willing to train with him to pull off the big mask heist at Bedford Palace. And she knows that he knows that . . . well, just watch the movie. It's not clear who's doing the entrapment half the time, and that's supposed to be half the fun.

Connery and Zeta-Jones make an intriguing couple, though the minor characters in this film tend to be as familiar as sunlight. Her superior at Waverly, Hector Cruz (Patton), is every police-chief boss we've ever seen in '70s TV cop dramas, while Ving Rhames comes across as almost generic playing Aaron Thibadeaux, someone whose relationship with Mac isn't clearly defined. But he's leaning on Mac the same as Hector is leaning on Virginia. So much leaning, and such lean characters! The bizarre comic relief is provided by Maury Chaykin, who plays an opium-smoking, Jabba-the-Hut looking Malaysian kingpin like a gold-toothed gangsta.

But this isn't an ensemble film. It's a star vehicle, and Connery and Zeta-Jones seem comfortable with each other and "into" the filming. You want them to get together, and director Jon Amiel ("The Man Who Knew Too Little") does a tantalizing job of keeping them at arm's (and lip's) length throughout most of the movie. If you like the two stars, the plot will seem just understandable enough and the action just feasible enough for you to enjoy their antics. Particularly impressive are the location scenes filmed in Kuala Lumpur at the Twin Towers, which provide the same exciting movie set for a shoot-out as Chicago's State of Illinois building offered the cops in "Running Scared." When the action starts, some of it is as hard to swallow as most action films. But logic isn't all that gets suspended in "Entrapment," and the stunts, combined with the star relationship, will remind some movie fans of "Six Days and Six Nights" for international thieves.

For a 1999 film, which, it's scary to think, is already seven years behind the current technology, the effects and the 1080p HD picture look as fresh as a 2006 film. Transferred to 25GB single-layer disc using MPEG-2 technology at 18MBPS, "Entrapment" has a slick sheen and plenty of detail to complement the film's content. Many of the scenes are show in tight quarters or low-lit areas, and there's no loss of detail whatsoever.

There's also a slam-bang English DTS HD 5.1 Master Lossless Audio track that especially comes to life when the metal begins to screech and bullets start ricocheting. Other options are French Dolby Digital 5.1 and Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround, but they can't compare to the featured audio soundtrack. Subtitles are in English (CC) and Spanish.

Amiel offers a commentary that mostly talks about the stars and reveals him to be just about as star-struck as the rest of us. He can't say too much about Zeta-Jones, as you might imagine. Apart from the gushing and the "here's how we shot this" talk, the best part of the commentary is when he explains the gizmos and gadgets and how they made them work. Other than that, there's just a theatrical trailer in HD.

Bottom Line:
"Entrapment" follows the familiar formula of a heist film, but Connery, Zeta-Jones, and those Twin Towers of Kuala Lumpur are enough to elevate it into a highly watchable and entertaining film.


Film Value