Television networks have found that rebooting older classics is a winning bet. There’s Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver on CBS, while and earlier this week, CBS announced that it’s bringing back S.W.A.T. as Fox is putting together a remake of Behind Enemy Lines. The show that I’ll be watching, however, will be NBC’s The Italian Job. NBC just ordered scripts for it.
I’m a huge Italian Job fan. Anytime I’m watching TV and the movie comes on, I’ll watch it, no matter how many times I’ve seen it. And I will watch every single episode of an Italian Job television show.
The rebooted show will be inspired by both the original 1969 film with Michael Caine and the newer version that starred Mark Wahlberg, according to Deadline. It’ll feature a likable group of criminals who are brought back together when they have the chance to break their "patriarch" out of jail. At the best, I can see this being a combination of Leverage, Prison Break, and Heist — but with Mini Coopers.
I fell completely in love with both Italian Job films, but not for the usual reasons. They’re certainly not the greatest heist films ever put to the silver screen, nor are they particularly notable when it comes to plot or their acting. What they do have is those plucky cars at their center. They’re small, fast, and seem to exude personality. We Mini drivers often wave as we pass by one another, recognizing that we’ve bought into a small, almost cult-like community of motorists.
A Mini was always the car that I’d wanted to drive from when I’d first laid eyes on them. They were certainly more interesting than the Toyota Camry or Geo Prism that I’d driven throughout college. Not long after I began my first post-college job, I bought a British Racing Green Mini Cooper. I started to learn how to drive stick the night before I picked it up, and when I bought the car, my dad dropped me off in a parking lot and left me to figure it out.
I did, and in the years that I owned that car, I loved driving it — and the simple act of driving itself. I would take off in it for hours at a time, deliberately getting lost along Vermont’s back roads, whipping through the tight corners and taking in some amazing scenery. I pretty much burst into tears when I ended up trading it in for a Mini Countryman a couple of years ago.
I’ve thought a lot about my relationship with driving and the experience of watching these films over the years. I’ve jokingly called the 2003 reboot a glorified car commercial, but in some ways, it was the best sort of advertisement for the car. The movie was a bit of a love letter to the car, and it showed off its plucky energy as Charlie Croker and sped through Italy or LA to steal a whole bunch of gold.
In recent years, Mini has hyped up its brand not as a car company, but as a type of lifestyle for those who want to be on the go, speeding off to the next adventure. It’s an effective marketing campaign, and it’s something that the films seemed to pick up on. The Mini isn’t just a car: it’s a fun car.
The Mini Cooper doesn’t exude raw power like a Mustang or a Corvette: the characters choose it because it’s small and nimble, perfect for carrying out a heist. For that reason, the movies hold up nicely: they treated the cars like another member of the cast. If the new show recognizes that the car is a central part of the plot, it could be a helluva lot of fun.
Chances are, I’ll be entirely let down by this new show, but hey, as long as there’s some sort of implausible car chase involving Mini Coopers, I’ll be happy.