(15+) US. Matt Dillon, T.I., Idris Elba, Hayden Christensen
The Wire’s Idris Elba heads a West Coast posse of sharp-dressed kleptos who do one big job a year and nightclub it the other 364. Matt Dillon is the fuzz on their tail, a grizzled obsessive in love with his job and neglectful of his family. The crooks’ slo-mo walk away from an exploding helicopter puts the likelihood of their capture into perspective: jurisprudence takes a holiday when thievery looks this good. But the gum in the works is ex-con Ghost (hip-hop artist T.I.), who brings tidings to Elba and crew of an armoured car stickup to end ’em all.
It’s obvious the dung will pelt the spinning blades. Yet for all its faux Michael Mann-isms (ooh, that sharp-edged LA architecture!), the film is still enthralling. Director John Luessenhop’s aggressive approach to action is inspired, especially the parkour-peppered foot chase between Dillon, Jay Hernandez and yard-stomping criminal Chris Brown. The casting, from leads to supporting roles, is terrific: it’s a pleasure to see the underutilised Marianne Jean-Baptiste (of Mike Leigh’s Secrets & Lies) steal scenes as Elba’s drug-addict sis.