A team of professional thieves come together to pull off an impossible casino heist. No, I’m not talking about OCEAN’S ELEVEN (although there are eleven thieves involved), I’m talking about the South Korean like minded film THE THIEVES (original title Dodookdeul).
THE THIEVES is an exciting thriller with action, love and betrayal. The film starts off with a cleverly put together con by a small band of criminals each with a specific job and distinct personalities. Then we meet another group of burglars midway through a heist of their own. After one mastermind invites both groups along with a couple of wild cards added to the mix, we have a solid core of thieves with unique talents and personalities to pull off an elaborate jewelry heist in a top casino.
With names like Chewingum, Pepsi, Zampano, Maau Park and Popey, THE THIEVES captures a light-hearted fun while pulling off a fairly smart, albeit familiar, concept. All the characters are likable in their own way while maintaining a believability and depth regardless of how little time is spent with them. Every character comes with a specific quality that makes them unique for this particular case. Assorted safe crackers, con artists, weapon experts, wire specialists, and even an undercover agent are what make them qualified. But what makes them interesting is their personal agendas. Rivalries, jealousy, love, and other selfish motives make for a lot of double-crossing and a surprising amount of humor.
THE THIEVES is a familiar story that sometime chooses theatrics over story but overall entertains. It never quite crosses the line of ludacriss where the audience might check out. Be careful though, because many different languages are spoken throughout. And while subtitles are provided, you may not realize that sometimes other characters in the scene are in the dark as to what is being said. The most fun is when English is the language of choice because every line is read as though they are being fed the words phonetically. A weird inflection is provided each time, which gives an odd humor to the overall picture.
The intended lead characters are not introduced until after the first heists from the two different gangs occur. While the idea of keeping the characters a bit mysterious and on a somewhat even playing field is an interesting concept, it also makes it a bit awkward to know who to root for. Sure it’s a clever technique but also a bit sloppy in structure as it defies a basic principal to keep the audience happy. I’m not shunning the idea completely as I really enjoyed THE THIEVES. Far more than expected. But I do question some of the basic choices of character development.
If you’re gonna copy a heist film, OCEAN’S ELEVEN is the one to do. And to be fair THE THIEVES is only similar in the framework. The intricacies of the story and easy-going feel of the actors portraying their characters, make for a highly entertaining ride full of action, suspense and thrilling betrayals.
Video: (1080p 2.35:1) A great looking picture with a high quality production and colorful palette.
Audio: (Korean: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) An excellent sound throughout the picture.
Making Of (5:51): A very brief look at some of the behind the scenes with a few interview snippets.
Meet The Thieves (4:33): A nice featurette that gives a brief glimpse at a few of the thieves characteristics. It would have been nice to add all the characters to this list.