Spike Lee offers up a rote mega-heist thriller, with Clive Owen as the drippingly cool bank-robber mastermind, Denzel Washington as the rangy New York cop on the case, and Jodie Foster as . . . a peripheral bad guy? The rhythms, gimmicks, and tropes on view are all as familiar as the wallpaper facing our toilets; Russell Gewirtz's debut screenplay is completely overcome with constructing a ridiculous plot that is almost by definition unconvincing. Lee plays the genre like a board game, and his film is a sniggering riff, filled with hyperbolic New Yawk stereotypes, tit jokes, puns, scattershot commentary on racial profiling, and smug banter. It's no great improvement over 16 Blocks, the season's other downtown-Manhattan cop fantasy. In any case, heist films are hardly what they used to be; the difference between, say, Stanley Kubrick's 1956 masterpiece The Killing and contemporary daydreams like Inside Man is the difference between a luckless hell on earth and a dull weekend in the Poconos.
Director: Spike Lee
Writer: Russell Gewirtz
Producer: Brian Grazer
Cast: Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Peter Gerety, Peter Frechette,, Jason Manuel Olazabal and Ashlie Atkinson