2 November 2012 | cremea
Impressive and Enormously Entertaining!
The Thieves is a 2012 Korean heist/caper film. Here's your story: Gather a bunch of thieves & criminals together to hatch a plan to steal a diamond. That's it!...Well, Almost!
The comparisons to this film being a Korean version of "Ocean's Eleven" simply can't be avoided. And, if you're asking "Why should I waste my time watching that?" The answer is because IT IS a KOREAN VERSION!
When you watch "Ocean's Eleven", you know the worst thing that will happen to Clooney & Pitt & the Gang is a couple of punches in the face and/or slaps on the wrist, or maybe some minimal jail time. There's nothing wrong with that; it can all be great fun when done well. But, this is a Korean production, so, Anything Goes Here!!! (and, it certainly does Go!).
This movie has a quite a bit going for it. First & foremost, the acting is top notch throughout, and, each of actors and actresses they gathered together here get their chance to strut their stuff. The cast is packed full of talented stars (in Asia anyway), and it's really hard to take your eyes off of any one person when it's their time to step to the plate (regardless of age, sex, or role). Everyone really plays off each other quite well, so much so that it seems they've been working together as a cohesive unit for some time; this is even all the more impressive when you consider this is a Pan Asian ensemble cast that has to overcome language barriers while snappily working their way through some well scripted, and witty dialogue. The film eventually tightens its focus more on the Korean stars for the most part, but this is a Korean production, so that is to be expected.
The story is pretty decent overall; nothing fancy or overly challenging (at least until your figure out who's doing what to whom and what everybody's motives are). The first half of the film primarily brings everybody together to work on the plan to steal the diamond, while revealing their past histories and present interpersonal relationships. The second half ultimately brings all their story lines and individual objectives to a head under a heavy dose of fairly impressive action scenes.
Production values are quite high here, and, it might be the most slickly made and stylized film I've ever seen come out of Asia. I'm used to seeing increasingly high production values from Asian cinema over the last decade plus, but this film is really pushing the limits of what an Asian "Big Picture" can be. If this is what bodes for the future of this type of Asian action cinema, then I'm on board 100%! (PROVIDED, they don't lose their heart & soul along the way, which is what made films from this part of the world so enticing to begin with).
Perhaps what I like best about this movie is that it is just flat out sexy, and, I don't mean that in a 'let's get naked & have sex kind of way'. It just oozes a certain kind of sex appeal and undercurrent throughout as a result of its stylized story arcs, character back stories, and star performances. It's also quite romantic at times, and, is not without its comedic moments. For what is essentially a 'popcorn action flick' with little room for excess, it does make a solid & effective effort to infuse a sexy/romantic/comedic aspect, which it pulls off quite well.
This is by no means what I would consider a great film, but it is just a crap ton of fun, and I loved just about everything about it. It's solidly made and quickly paced (despite its 2.25 hour run time), and, it is often incredibly entertaining. There's really very little not to like here in all honesty. If you're looking for a high octane action caper with a decent enough amount of substance behind it, you might want to check this movie out pretty soon.
So, from a reasonable and realistic prospective, this film should probably rate at about 7 out of 10 stars or so overall. But, I liked this flick way better than that, so I'm bumping it up to 8 out of 10 stars. Totally Recommended!