‘Entrapment’ fizzles, Zeta-Jones sizzles

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    By PETER THUNELL

    “Entrapment” seems to have it all; big stars, high octane action and plot twists, but in the end it just can’t deliver the goods.

    “Entrapment” stars the incredibly beautiful Catherine Zeta-Jones (“Mask of Zorro”) and the incredibly old Sean Connery, trying his best not to show his advancing years.

    This pairing of stars brought two big questions to my mind — first, could Zeta-Jones be the most attractive woman on Earth, and second, how much longer are we going to put up with Connery being cast as the love interest of these twenty-something women? The answer to one of these questions is yes.

    “Entrapment” follows Gin (Zeta-Jones), an insurance agent for a high class firm, who is put on assignment to try to catch a master thief, Mac (Connery). Gin looks to win over Mac by telling him she really is a crook who pulls off major heists. From there the film leaves you wondering who really is playing for which side.

    Gin invites Mac to join her in stealing an ancient Chinese mask worth millions and then to pull off the ultimate heist — hijacking a bank’s computer out of eight billion dollars. All the time Gin is throwing herself at Mac. Mac resists, not wanting to complicate their partnership. By the climax of the movie, Gin and Mac are trying to dodge the police while escaping from the incredibly tall Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lampur.

    So much of the plot hinges on surprises and double and triple-layered con jobs. The movie shines most when the characters use their high-tech gadgets to break into places and steal from seemingly impenetrable fortresses. Much like “To Catch a Thief,” we get a guilty pleasure out of rooting for the high-class burglars.

    Still, the film lacks something. Zeta-Jones acts like a model who works with an acting coach. She gets by, but too much is missing in her delivery. She seems to be trying too hard. Connery is Connery — suave, cool under pressure, playing a role that he has played hundreds of times.

    I promise I am not speaking out of jealousy when I say Connery is starting to show his age.

    The screenplay desperately wants to be another “Mission Impossible.” But “Entrapment” doesn’t live up to Tom Cruise’s plot-twisting thriller. Too many of the things that happen in “Entrapment” really don’t make sense. Too many plot twists are done for the sake of the twist and nothing else.

    The film’s director, Jon Amiel, does well during the action, but comes up short when the action stops. Amiel also incorporates tools that feel out of place and outdated, like the slow fade from one image to another and muted colors in certain scenes. This, along with the terrible musical score, gives the film a late ’70s-early ’80s feel at times.

    “Entrapment” is solid two-star entertainment. It is rated PG-13 for language and violence.

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