Film review: Foolproof

14 January 2004


Spot which principal is which We got a job lot of lasers Scary Villain Guy

Why do I keep subjecting myself to heist films? I haven't got bored with them yet, I guess... and sometimes, as with this one, they're quite fun.

Not much in the way of big-name stars here, apart from David Suchet (last seen by me in Wing Commander - how's the career, David?). The film looks cheap and cheerful, without much in the way of special effects (some computer displays, a laser beam alarm system, and some fooling around in a lift shaft are about the size of it), though apparently it was the most widely-released and heavily marketed film from its country as of October 2003.

Its country? Yes, well: this film comes from Canada. It's not even your standard "we filmed in Canada to save money" job, either - there are occasional Canadian references and in-jokes in what is, admittedly, basically an American-style film. It is nice to see Toronto finally allowed to play itself on film rather than standing in for somewhere south of the border.

The plot hardly matters: three friends play the game of planning and simulating robberies, while never actually committing them. Their notes get stolen, and they're blackmailed into committing a real robbery. Will there be a surprising twist? (Yes, actually - there are no car chases in this film. Surprised me.) Another unusual feature is that it's not simply a matter of "security system X needs device Y to bypass it", like an old text adventure game; rather, our heroes need to be inventive and flexible in their actions.

The principals aren't especially great actors, but they're playing ordinary people and mostly do it pretty well. There's Ordinary Guy, Scary Girl and Slobbish Techie Guy, just as you've seen them many times before. They at least manage not to be actively annoying, unlike far too many film and TV principals these days. Suchet is clearly enjoying a Maria Frankenstein Sandwich (see

Overall, it's more workmanlike than inspired, but still good fun and worth a rental.