Why, hello, Tony Soprano--ummm, I mean James Gandolfini. I won't give away here the character he is playing, but once you see it, it just hits you--yes, this is hand-in-glove typecasting; no more assembly required. More on my impression of the actors later.
The movie itself... hmmm... I don't know about "drama"... That's what this movie is billed as, but it is more of an action/adventure piece. With that said, this movie really delivers. To be sure, there are some drama threads; they are there to drive the plot. The plot, in turn, not only invites action, it requires it. This alone keeps the action scenes from becoming self-indulgent, and the action scenes are never overly long--they don't have to be, because there is enough "real" story to be told; no need to gloss over with a barrage of special effects.
On to the actors: the abovementioned James Gandolfini aside, let the first honorable mention go to John Travolta, who has probably had the longest-lasting big-screen presence of them all--and he has come a long way since Saturday Night Fever. Next, Denzel Washington has always understood to portray a character who stands tall confronting his adversary as well as his own fallacious humanity. But where was John Turturro? Maybe he has changed the most over time (since playing Barton Fink, that is).
Oh, and when you come out of the movie theater and have the association of James Gandolfini with his character--can we agree that, in real life, this figure might as well be Tony Soprano?