An English cat burglar needs a Eurasian dancer's help to pull off the perfect heist, but even the most foolproof schemes have a way of backfiring.An English cat burglar needs a Eurasian dancer's help to pull off the perfect heist, but even the most foolproof schemes have a way of backfiring.An English cat burglar needs a Eurasian dancer's help to pull off the perfect heist, but even the most foolproof schemes have a way of backfiring.
Although perhaps not in the same top-flight league as "Rififi" and "Topkapi," "Gambit" is nevertheless an extremely entertaining heist movie that features consistently fine performances, an amusing and twisty script, and good production values. In this one, Caine hires MacLaine, who is working as a dancehall girl in Hong Kong, to assist him in the purloining of a priceless piece of sculpture, owned by Herbert Lom. This is not your typical heist film, however, and there is a twist right around the first half-hour mark that really had me chuckling out loud...and I'm not an easy person to make laugh out loud at movies, either. MacLaine plays one of her patented loveable kooks in this film, and is ever so appealing. Caine, in his first American production, plays it alternately cool and exasperated. Lom is surprisingly good as Shabhandar, one of the world's wealthiest men; his performance is both urbane and beautifully modulated. Good in smaller parts are two faces that classic "Star Trek" fans will recognize: John Abbott (an Organian) as the French art connoisseur, and Roger "Harry Mudd" Carmel as a hotel clerk. The heist itself is fairly suspenseful and, I suppose, high-tech for its day. Both Caine and MacLaine display surprising derring-do and quick thinking, and toward the finale of the film, the viewer is treated to at least three unexpected twists of plot. "Gambit," thus, offers good suspense, real wit, some romance, colorful locales, and fine acting. It is a real winner. If you're a fan of the heist movie, this one will not disappoint. It's good, light, well-done fun, and infinitely more entertaining than recent, "serious" caper films such as "The Score" and "Heist." Check it out!
- Jan 24, 2003
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