"Some names have been changed to protect the guilty." Such is the cheeky spirit of THE BANK JOB, a solidly entertaining British heist film based on England's famous walkie-talkie bank job.
The year is 1971 and Michael X--emerging black activist and budding crime lord--has British authorities over a barrel after he gets hold of sexually incriminating photos of royal Princess Margaret. Desperate to recover the photos, the government pressures troubled model Martine Love (Saffron Burrows) to recruit a team and steal the bank safety deposit box containing the photos.
Martine promptly enlists small-time con man and old flame Terry Leather (Jason Statham), luring him and his crew with the promise of millions. But also in their loot is a ledger detailing payoffs made to crooked cops by reputed gangster Porn King Vogel (David Suchet).
Leather and mates soon find themselves on the run from both the British spy community and the ruthless British underworld, needing to stay one step ahead if they are to stay alive.
Veteran director Roger Donaldson (THE WORLD'S FASTEST INDIAN, NO WAY OUT) deftly juggles the shifting intricacies and loyalties of THE BANK JOB's plot, balancing backroom politics with bank caper humor and cringe-inducing criminal brutality.
Statham (LOCK, STOCK & TWO SMOKING BARRELS) is excellent as the petty criminal who finds himself in over his head, and who will need some quick thinking and a whole lot of guts to protect his friends and family.
Briskly paced and lively in its handling of some serious intrigue, THE BANK JOB is an enjoyable entry in the bank robbery genre.