Movie Reviews

‘The Thieves’: A Korean scenestealer

By Travis WongMovies - 14 September 2012 12:00 AM

‘The Thieves’: A Korean scenestealer

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Rating: 3 stars out of 5

The Buzz: An ensemble cast of talent from both Hong Kong and Korea.

The Story: A group of thieves come together to steal a valuable diamond, but there are members of the group with different goals.

The Stars: Simon Yam, Gianna Jun, Kim Hae-Suk says: ‘The Thieves’ steals a whole bunch of ideas from other films, but like a haphazard collector of items, has no idea how to put them together. This Korean film that jets between Hong Kong, Macau and Korea has tons of ambition, and manages to just pull things off with its talented ensemble cast who rise above the far-too convoluted material.

For a heist film, there is far too little sleight of hand and deception and far too much wire work and gunplay.  The central heist in the film, where the thieves group up to steal a precious diamond from one of the hotel's guests, relies on plenty of firepower. Considering how many of the thieves are exposed and leave themselves open to witnesses, one would suggest that they go back to the drawing board and think things out a little more. At least put some masks on, people!

As it turns out, the heist is only half of the film. Things get even worse for all involved in the second half of the film, as a huge series of double-crosses and betrayals are pulled, and predictably, it seems no one can trust anyone.

Calling up fire-power to resolve the problem, director Dong-Hoon Choi goes all John Woo, with shady HK triad criminals blasting away at the thieves in a dragged out battle involving plenty of rappelling that comes across like a grungier version of ‘Mission Impossible’. Pity that it doesn't quite save the film from toppling over.

Choi does have a knack with the actors, particularly the female cast. Long-legged Gianna Jun, who plays the sultry Yenicall, helps prop up the movie when she's on screen. Angelica Lee is commendable in her depiction of a cop who has infiltrated the group, while Dal-Su Oh, with his wild hair, provides the comic relief. The lead character, Macau Park, played by Kim Yun-Seok, is a moody, unsympathetic character and possibly the least interesting of the group.

There are far too many plot-holes to forgive, and the central love triangle could have been resolved early on if the couple bothered to actually communicate. Still, the likable cast does manage to help Choi get away with the somewhat sloppy story and shenanigans.

‘The Thieves’ open in theatres 13 September 2012


Travis Wong is a film loving geek who got his start from frequenting video shops in JB. He frequented movie theaters more often than school, and received his cinematic epiphany when he watched 'Taxi Driver'. While not driving a cab, he haunts DVD shops, and he currently has the largest remaining collection of VHS tapes and Laserdiscs in the country.