Kevin Hart as Cyrus in Lift. Photograph: Courtesy of Netflix © 2023

F. Gary Gray has directed fine films in the past. Italian Job (2003) was one of the smart ones, with Jason Statham, Charlize Theron and Mark Wahlberg speeding through the canals of Venice in a gold-heist thriller.

Gray’s latest, Lift, which premieres Friday on Netflix, has a similar feel from the get-go but doesn’t get off to a similarly gripping start.

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Don’t let that bother you, though, because after 20 minutes in, as the cameras focus on Cyrus Whitaker (Kevin Hart), the plot thickens.

Gray—and especially Hart—bring to life another gold heist story with a modern twist.

We have art in NFTs, private jets with glass-roofed tops and LED-screen bottoms. We have chemistry between thief Whitaker and Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Abby from Interpol, and we have a villain known in real life as Jean Reno. (Remember Leon: The Professional (1994)? How about Ronin (1998)? Ok.)

But most importantly, we have a fun and gripping film that we can watch from the comfort of our couches.

And aside from being “modern” the film gives a nod to the politics of the day: when in doubt, call the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

“Get me NATO!” they said and I laughed.

You have to see for yourself what this is all about.

‘Lift’ is on Netflix now.

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