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Case Number 05970

Buy Foolproof at Amazon


Lionsgate // 2003 // 96 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // January 14th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge David Johnson once considered a glamorous life of crime, but opted for a liberal arts degree instead.

The Charge

Stealing is fun.

Opening Statement

Ryan Reynolds (Blade: Trinity) headlines this heist caper that follows the exploits of a trio of friends who plot hypothetical thefts. I think someone needs a girlfriend.

Facts of the Case

It's "foolproof." That's what friends Kevin (Reynolds), Sam (Kristin Booth), and Rob (Joris Jarsky) strive for with their elaborate heist schemes. They want to make sure their potential outing is flawless; but it's all a game. They each have normal, regular lives, and they're law-abiding citizens—they just have a bizarre hobby.

But suddenly make-believe becomes startlingly real. Their plans for a diamond boost are stolen, and the crime is actually carried out, the perpetrator following the trio's gameplan step by step. They are suddenly implicated in a felony.

The mysterious thief reveals himself as Leo Gillette (David Suchet), an infamous crime lord, and offers the three friends a choice: help him pull off a $20 million job or get framed for the diamond heist.

Kevin and company relent, and begin plotting the biggest theft of their lives—the only one where they will actually steal something. Hanging over their head is Gillette's threat to turn them in, as well as the possibility that one of them might be selling out. Oh and there's that whole getting-caught-stealing-$20 million thing, too, and going to jail and facing unpleasant circumstances.

The Evidence

Foolproof is a silly but decent caper movie. Reynolds shows here why he is an up-and-coming young star in Hollywood. Though he's not as jacked as he was in Blade: Trinity, he shoulders a good deal of on-screen charm.

The film treads the ground heist movies must tread these days, offering cool and unique approaches to a big theft, snappy techno music, and a couple of big twists. In this regard, Foolproof delivers.

The mapping out and execution of the big $20 million job is quite entertaining and featured some set-pieces I had never seen before; dry ice in particular is used to great effect. Writer/director William Phillips manages to capitalize on these fun sequences he concocts, and, with snappy pacing, keeps the movie rolling; the movie is 90 minutes long and zips along nicely.

There are some good plot twists, and though you know they are coming, the pay-off is actually rewarding—though a bit far-reaching as far as practicality goes (elevator shafts strike me as considerably more dangerous than is reflected here).

A few weak spots do hamper the film's success. Aside from Reynolds and Suchet, the acting is pretty weak; two-thirds of our protagonists are actually rather annoying, and unevenly characterized to boot.

And then there's the whole premise of these three friends expending a vast amount of time and money and resources on playing out these heist fantasies. Seems a tad on the far-fetched side. Then again, I see people running around in Medieval garb with plastic swords in the park every summer, so to each their own in their spare time, I guess.

Aside from a disappointing full-frame presentation, the picture is sharp and detailed. The sound is great, though, with the 5.1 Dolby Digital mix used very well; ambient sound is maxed out, and the discrete channels get plenty to do.

Bonus features include a 10 minute making-of featurette and some director and cast interviews. The interviews are the superior offering, with the major cast members offering their two cents on working with each other, getting into the roles, and connecting with the story. A nice little helping.

The Rebuttal Witnesses

The characters use the word "foolproof" too many times. It quickly becomes stupid and annoying.

Closing Statement

Foolproof certainly doesn't represent the pinnacle of filmmaking, but as a brisk, fun, non-pretentious heist movie, it performs surprisingly well. You could do worse on a lonely Saturday evening.

The Verdict

The accused is found not guilty of stealing 90 minutes of your life.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 80
Audio: 85
Extras: 80
Acting: 80
Story: 85
Judgment: 82

Perp Profile

Studio: Lionsgate
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
• None
Running Time: 96 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated R
• Crime
• Thriller

Distinguishing Marks

• Cast Interviews
• Featurette
• Trailer


• IMDb

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