Entrapment (1999) – A Review
A heist thriller propelled by two star-powered leads. On this side it’s THE Sean Connery! Who doesn’t love Connery? He plays Mac, an expert art thief. Well, that sounds awesome!
His co-star is gorgeous red hot up-and-comer Catherine Zeta-Jones. She’s Gin, an insurance investigator who has a passion for stealing and has a once-in-a-lifetime $8 billion dollar heist all planned out, but she needs Connery’s help to pull it off.
Or you can simply describe Entrapment as ‘that Connery movie with Zeta-Jones that has the famed mesmerizing shot of her butt sliding underneath laser beams.’ That single shot was just as heavily promoted as the two actors. All those commercials and trailers featuring Zeta-Jones’ keister really helped get audiences butts in the seats.
The story is pretty ho-hum, it’s really the pairs star power that made Entrapment a hit back in 1999. Had two no-name and less attractive actors been on the screen, Entrapment probably would have disappeared rather quietly and it would have long ago been forgotten. Yet, to this day I continue to see it play pretty regularly on cable.
My initial reaction to it back when first seeing it was, ‘yeah, it was so-so’. Since then, my feeling for it has cooled even further. It’s never as clever or exciting as it thinks it is – or should have been. The characters are unremarkable and the trendy hook of pulling off a Y2K/millenium heist doesn’t add much urgency to anything going on. There are long sections where it really lags. There are some notable supporting actors that are completely wasted and don’t get the opportunity to ignite much excitement in the story.
The movie mainly gets helped along by a few fun scenes, some fancy and stylish looking locations, Connery’s commanding presence and Zeta-Jones looking gorgeous. Those are really the main takeaways from Entrapment, the majority of it you’ll forget about.
They really spent time on making Zeta-Jones look good everytime she appears onscreen. She’s perfectly lit, she’s seductively wrapped in satin bedsheets, she wears tight fitting outfits and glamorous gowns. It seemed director Jon Amiel’s top priority was to make his leading lady look as ravishing as possible. Crafting a compelling story came a much distant second.
So the deal is – an expensive painting has been snatched. Zeta-Jones works for an insurance agency, she believes Connery snatched it, convinces her boss Will Patton to allow her to go undercover as a thief to get the goods on Connery.
But, whoa, whoa, whoa, Cathy is in fact a real thief and has this Year 2000 heist idea to steal billions from Petronas Towers in Malaysia and asks Connery to help. Connery has to be sure that’s she’s really a criminal and this isn’t some sort of ‘entrapment’. He puts her through a thief training ringer, does one heist with her, comes to trust her and they go off to rob some major dough on New Years Eve together. Can they somehow pull off this impossible heist?
Connery is…well Connery. He can play this type of role no problem. He’s cool and charismatic and it’s what we wanted to see from him. Zeta-Jones doesn’t fare as well. Despite her looking consistency incredible in every scene, I never thought much of her actual acting in this. Plus, the countless times she says, ‘Mac’ throughout the movie really got on my nerves. I don’t think I ever heard that as a particular criticism of her or the script, but it really annoys me.
I have to give the movie props for nixing any romantic angle with an expected May/December romance between the two. Oh, it could have happened and the opportunity opens itself up. Apparently Cathy is all for up, but it’s Sean who puts his foot down, realizing he’s a bit too mature for an affair with this lovely lady. So, he sticks to his mentor/fatherly role.
There are two ‘heist sequences’ in the movie, and that’s where things are the most enjoyable. The rest of the time there’s a bunch of ‘thief training’ exercises Zeta-Jones endures, filler and exposition scenes with supporting players coming in and attempting to build up the stakes, then finally watching the planning of the heists hinting to us as to how they’re going to pull these things off.
The payoffs of the heists are barely worth the time. They have entertaining bits and that’s when the movie has its best moments, but it’s a long slog to get to them. This movie really loves using laser beams! I think they took third billing on the poster.
Ving Rhames, Maury Chaikin and Will Patton, who can play some really great weaselly characters, pop up, but they don’t provide much of anything. They’re all wasted.
As i said, Entrapment ended up as a hit and it’s still watched today. I see it all the time airing on cable. Maybe, along with the stars the title has something to do with its popularity. ‘ENTRAPMENT’. Just the name sounds like a real nifty, double-crossing, thrilling movie. It really isn’t though. There’s barely a whisper of any looming question of ‘entrapment’ or suspenseful cons hanging over anyone in this flick.They toss in a lame twist towards the end which falls flat and adds nothing.
This is the type of the movie where it’s all sheen and there’s not much underneath it. The Thomas Crown Affair remake with fellow Bond Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo that came out the same year as Entrapment, is a far superior heist film. It has much better characters, scenes, story, is much smarter, and a more entertaining movie overall. In comparison, Entrapment plays like the lesser B-Picture that would follow it on a double bill.
The real entrapment that happened was to audiences. They got lured in by a beautiful cool looking cast and an entertaining sounding movie. Yet, when the lights went down all it really delivered was Zeta-Jones’ butt.
I think it’s due to her derrière and Connery’s presence why folks continue to get sucked into watching it whenever it plays. It’s too bad they didn’t come up with anything more than those parts to get us to watch it.
The trailer really makes it look like it’s going to be one thrilling adventure. And of course Zeta-Jones’ butt is featured. It’s funny how Rhames gets promoted and he’s in like two scenes! Shows how popular he was at the time. The exploding text comes off pretty corny.