The Thieves (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
Ocean’s Eleven (2001) was a hugely entertaining movie. It had its flaws, yet it was captivating crime/comedy caper. However, I felt letdown by Ocean’s Twelve and because of this I did not bother with Ocean’s Thirteen, and I doubt I ever will. Now, The Thieves has absolutely nothing to do with the aforementioned movies, but at its heart it sings from the same hymn sheet, albeit a vastly improved one. Once again the Koreans show us how to make movies, and this time it’s a crime caper along the lines of Ocean’s Eleven.
To go into too much detail about the plot would probably take longer than the film’s lengthy running, which is about 2 ¼ hours, so I will just give you the abridged version. In all honesty you don’t need to know everything about it, as part of the joy of this film was not knowing where it was going next. Simply put, two gangs, one Korean and one Chinese, team up to steal a diamond called the Tear of the Sun, from deep within a casino.
Each member of the team has their own specialty, which goes without saying, yet there is a certain animosity among this group of thieves. Some of them have a history between them and as we all know there is no honor among thieves, so we get double-crossing, triple-crossing, a labyrinthine plot with many sub-plots and much more. Really, there is a lot going on in The Thieves, maybe too much, and in all honesty the film’s running time could probably have done with a little trimming here and there.
All that being said, The Thieves really is a film you can immerse yourself in and would no doubt benefit from repeated viewing, due to everything that is going on. The Thieves isn’t all about plot though, and we do get treated to some quite spectacular action sequences, with the last half an hour or so being quite breathtaking in its execution.
This is a slick and sexy thriller with comedic elements thrown in, although not so much as they detract from the thriller aspects, and director Dong-hoon Choi holds everything together almost perfectly. He keeps the action moving along whilst never at the expense of the characters, of which there are many, and even though there are many aspects we have seen before he manages to keep everything fresh.
The cast, which might be new to some Western audiences, all seem to be having an absolute blast throughout the film, and it shows in their performances. No one really overshadows anyone else and, aside from the compulsory character with mad hair that every Korean movie seems to have, all deliver their roles with great conviction. Seriously, why is there always one character whose hair has a life of its own?
The film itself looks absolutely terrific, especially on the Blu-ray version I watched, although I have come to expect nothing less from an Asian Well Go release. Some companies seem happy to let anything go onto Blu-ray, regardless of quality, but Well Go always deliver the goods, and The Thieves is absolutely no exception.
As far as extras go, there are a couple of featurettes and trailers for you to peruse, but at the end of the day it is the film that is the star here. Sure, it’s a little too long for what it is, however it is still a cracking good yarn. Korean cinema scores again and so will you should you decide to watch this film, and I certainly think you should do.
The Thieves is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Well Go USA on February 12th.