Film review: Rapid Exchange

6 June 2003


Our heroes Lots of pyro The real stars of the show

I write this review knowing that The Italian Job has been remade, and is apparently as bad as people were expecting. Rapid Exchange, a made-for-video production released in April 2003, is what that remake should have been.

It's the same basic idea as that film and dozens of others before and since: we follow a gang of crooks around as they plan and execute a large money heist. There's even a "you're only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" scene (not with that quote, but the moment is very obvious). Lance Henriksen (bet you wondered what had happened to him) is in the "Mr Bridger" role as the boss who's putting up the money; a bunch of people I've never heard of are in other roles. (I think this helps: I find it distracting to see a "known face" in a major role.)

The technicalities are different from the run-of-the-mill: the money's being stolen off a 747 in mid-flight. The aerodynamics are a bit iffy, but only sometimes wildly beyond the realms of plausibility - I think they may actually have got a competent technical advisor on this one, and then not listened to him when it wouldn't have been fun. Special effects are pretty decent; it's not a film that demands much, just that the planes not be entirely obvious bluescreen shots, and this mostly works. (It helps that the action's taking place at night.)

The plot twists are basically unsurprising to anyone who's seen this sort of film before, but well-executed. Recommended for a relaxed evening in rather than for an intellectual filmic experience.