(director: Jon Amiel; screenwriters: William Broyles/Ronald Bass/story by Bass & Michael Hertzberg; cinematographer: Phil Meheux; editor: Terry Rawlings; music: Christopher Young; cast: Sean Connery (Robert Mac MacDougal), Catherine Zeta-Jones(Gin Baker), Ving Rhames (Thibadeaux), Will Patton (Cruz), Maury Chaykin (Conrad Greene), Kevin McNally (Haas); Runtime: 113; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Rhonda Tollefson/Sean Connery/Michael Hertzberg; Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment; 1999)

It pales in every which way when compared with any Bond film.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

A misfire romantic thriller directed by Jon Amiel (“The Core”/”Copycat”), that plays loose and fast but without purpose. It’s based on a story by Ronald Bass and Michael Hertzberg. The temperate screenplay is by Bass and William Broyles. It was shot in Pinewood Studios (as well as in New York, Western Scotland and Kuala Lumpur) .

A valued Rembrandt is stolen from a luxury skyscraper New York apartment. The suspect is Robert ‘Mac’ Macdougall (Sean Connery), reputed to be the world’s greatest art thief. Insurance investigator Virginia ‘Gin’ Baker (Catherine Zeta-Jones) persuades her boss Cruz (Will Paton) to put her on his tail and she’ll save the company a $24 million payout. Going undercover she hooks up with Mac and schemes to steal an ancient artifact (a Chinese mask) in Kuala Lumpur’s majestic Patronas Twin Towers that’s worth maybe a billion dollars. When a suspicious Mac confronts her as being an insurance agent, she confesses to being a thief and using the insurance job as a cover.

It pales in every which way when compared with any Bond film, but we still have the charismatic former Bond man trying to go through his familiar action-figure motions. And it offers an unbelievable cheesy romance between the hottie in a skintight leotard Zeta-Jones (giving a stiff performance) and the aging stud Connery (as good as ever), lots of gadgets (with Vingh Rhames the thief’s partner in crime handling the gadgetry) and a lumpy narrative to get through. At best, it’s a slick time killer with star power that should satisfy on cable. At worse, it’s too lethargic and filled with too many plot holes to be better than a modest adventure tale.

REVIEWED ON 5/1/2019 GRADE: C+  https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/