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Foolproof (2003)

À toute épreuve

This fall suspense gets intense!

Rating: 7/10

Running Time: 94 minutes

US Certificate: R UK Certificate: 15


Here’s the sort of movie you just don’t see enough of. A fun, sassy, sharp and completely unpretentious film with an entertaining plotline and solid – if largely unfamiliar – cast. And why is it that you’re unlikely to have even heard of it, let alone seen it? Because, for some bizarre reason, it went straight to video in practically every country but its native Canada.

Okay, so I have to admit that the bulk of the stuff found clogging up the “never heard of it” shelves in Blockbuster is generally there for good reason: i.e. it’s rubbish. But every now and again you come across a hidden gem like this one, which makes you wonder how it could possibly have been denied a crack at reaching a wider audience. Indeed, speaking as someone who has had to endure the likes of Sleepover, Taxi and The Phantom of the Opera on the big screen over the last few months, I have to say that getting to see ‘Foolproof’ in the cinema would have come as a Godsend by comparison.

It’s about three twenty-somethings – Kevin, Sam and Rob (Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Booth and Joris Jarsky) – who spend their spare time getting together and planning intricate and sophisticated heists. But, being good, up-standing citizens, they don’t actually carry any of these plans out. No, they just figure out how to steal some jewels or break into a bank, pat themselves on the back, and then move onto the next strictly-hypothetical master-crime.

Unfortunately, one of the trio is a bit careless and allows their Big Book of Schemes to be half-inched by slimy mob-lord Leo “The Touch” Gillette (David “Poirot” Suchet). Before they know what’s going on, ol’ Touchy is forcing them to plan AND pull off the theft of $20 million worth of unregistered bonds from a top security vault.

Although ‘Foolproof’ takes its time to get going and does have a bit of a far-fetched premise, it improves as the story progresses and is undoubtedly well worth sticking with. Writer-director William Phillips provides some good material for his enthusiastic cast of unknowns to work with, and comes up with a final product that looks surprisingly refined considering the obvious budget restrictions. I particularly enjoyed the final twist, which genuinely caught me out and works far better than many of the botched attempts at fooling the audience I’ve seen on the big screen in recent years.

Big names, big budget and big promotional work are the hallmarks of most of today’s high profile action heist projects (just look at the remakes of ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ or The Italian Job for evidence of that), but ‘Foolproof’ goes to show that such factors can often be excesses, not necessities.

It's Got: A soundtrack so stylish it almost starts to become irritating.

It Needs: Suchet to dress a little more appropriately for his role. Seriously, when was the last time you saw a supposed crime-lord dressed in a Noel Edmonds jumper?

DVD Extras Out-takes, a ten minute look behind the scenes, an insight into how the special effects took shape, and a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 4/10


Proof, at last, that rummaging around the straight-to-video section of your local movie rental store can actually pay off – ‘Foolproof’ really is a film worth seeing.