Foolproof (2003) / Thriller-Action
MPAA Rated: R for language and some sexual references
Running Time: 94 min.
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Kristin Booth, David Suchet, Joris Jarsky, James Allodi, David Hewlett
Director: William Phillips
Screenplay: William Phillips
Review published February 1, 2004
Foolproof is a Canadian attempt at recreating a fun heist flick, very similar to the successful recent ventures like Ocean's Eleven and The Italian Job. Although it has its moments, it just lacks the humor, freshness and hipness factor required to pull off a dessert film into something of substance by the end. The biggest flaw comes from the derivative qualities, clearly stuck in formula mode for the duration. You can't be hip if you're just tagging along with what everyone else is doing, especially if you're a couple of years out of style to begin with.
Ryan Reynolds (Van Wilder, The In-Laws) stars as Kevin, the leader of a trio who call themselves "Foolproof", breaking into high security systems as a hobby, rather than for criminal gain. They soon find themselves in a pickle when an actual nefarious criminal (Suchet, A Perfect Murder) coerces the few into working for him, utilizing their immense skills in order to commit a real crime to save their own skins.
William Phillips shows some flair in the direction, utilizing a nice sense of style with split-screen action montages that push forward the story economically. Alas, his script is just average at best, with some skimpy characterizations and wholly contrived situations that become all too hard to swallow, especially in the artificial final twist that is too farfetched in theory to ever believe it would be pulled off without a hitch. While the direction has some spark, it's in the sets and costumes that Foolproof shows its lack of real conception, with not a room, car or wardrobe that looks like anything other than a movie set locale. C'mon guys...a man's desk should have pictures of the kids, the offices should have art on the walls, and a man's apartment should be littered with personal effects -- instead it's all so sterile.
With Soderbergh-like execution, Foolproof also borrows heavily from other recent heist films, especially the plot of The Score and the sexiness of Entrapment, but it's little more than emulation with a lesser budget and actors who aren't as talented. Entirely lacking in creative vision, Foolproof is merely an exercise in techniques you've seen pulled off with much more finesse in better Hollywood films. Even if the heist-flick genre is full of retread plotting, you're really scraping for entertainment when you have to resort to imitations of imitations.
©2004 Vince Leo