I really enjoyed the 2003 remake of The Italian Job. It had a good plot, exciting action scenes, and was well cast. And hey, Charlize Theron.

So for a while I’ve been thinking it would be fun to see the original 1969 version of the movie. I’d heard that version included the thrilling Mini Cooper chase scene, and it stars Michael Caine so it must be decent.

Umm, no.

Laralee and I watched it last night and I have to say that’s an hour and a half of my life I’m never going to get back. I can’t believe Michael Caine was even asked to play a role in a movie after that, it was so awful.

Let me put it this way: Benny Hill (yes, that Benny Hill) is one of the co-stars. The plot was so full of holes that you could drive a Mini Cooper– no, make that three Mini Coopers– through them. The Italian Mafia was supposed to be a bunch of scary bad guys but in fact just had dark suits and bad hairdos, eventually coming up with some kind of plan to steal the gold from Caine and his buddies but mysteriously disappearing from the final part of the movie. The Italian police were more like the Keystone Cops with their idiotic hijinks and complete ineptitude. The computer that controlls Turin’s traffic lights apparently makes a bunch of crazy hums and beeps when it reads the 18″ tape reel with the hacker program on it… which had to be installed by a highly skilled programming genius hired just for the job, because no mere grunt could possibly have switched the tape like he did.

The high point of the film was when the prison warden, who is involved in the whole gold heist for reasons beyond mortal comprehension, struts around the prison while all of the inmates bang their food trays and sing. I kid you not.

By the end of the movie I was really hoping the gold would slide out of the back of the bus and take everyone tumbling down the rocky mountainside in a flaming ball of destruction. Heck, maybe that’s what happens– the movie ends right at that point, and you never know.

Note to self: sometimes the original is much, much worse than the remake. Do we dare watch the original 1960 version of Ocean’s Eleven?