“Honest Thief” is directed by Mark Williams and stars Liam Neeson (Taken, The Commuter), Kate Walsh (The Umbrella Academy, Grey’s Anatomy), Robert Patrick (Scorpion, True Blood), Anthony Ramos (Trolls World Tour, Godzilla: King of the Monsters), Jeffrey Donovan (Sicario, Burn Notice), and Jai Courtney (Suicide Squad, Divergent). This film follows a bank robber who meets a girl, falls in love, and aspires to spend his life with her. Although, because he wants to live a clean life, he requests to turn himself in for a reduced sentence, only to have every moment of his be interfered by two FBI agents.
There is not much playing in theaters right now in regards to new content, but “Honest Thief” did just debut this past weekend, and I managed to see it on the first Thursday it was playing. So, I consider myself lucky in getting to review another movie during a year which nothing really has happened. “Honest Thief,” marketing-wise, comes off as another cliche action flick starring Liam Neeson, and as far as the final product goes, that is pretty much what it is. If you’ve seen other action flicks starring Liam Neeson, this will seem stylistically similar to those. This is not exactly a punch to the face as far as this movie is concerned, because I will admit, I did enjoy myself from start to finish. This is not Shakespeare, but it is a damn good time, and worth the price of admission if you choose to support the film during its theatrical run. I am one of those people who will state that every movie is better in a theater, but I think many people would agree that action flicks are pretty much essential viewing on the big screen.
This movie has it all! Combat, shootouts, chases, and so on! This movie is worth it all the way through if you want to see some fun action scenes. Neeson carries the film quite well and I almost cannot imagine anyone else playing his character, even though this movie takes place in Massachusetts and almost embellishes that from start to finish. So if this is remade in 5 or 10 years, who knows? Maybe Ben Affleck, Chris Evans, or Matt Damon could step in. They’re competent actors from the area! Why not give them a shot? This is not a complaint against Liam Neeson. Again, he portrayed the lead role with excellence.
I will say once again, this movie is not Shakespeare, but it does not mean I failed to get attached to anyone on board. Liam Neeson’s character, Tom, is very likable. His love interest, played excellently by Kate Walsh, is also pleasing to watch. Their first scene together, is admittedly a little sappy, but that also brings me to one of my biggest compliments about the film. Despite how this film is a masculine adrenaline rush of an action flick, I was still able to feel some sense of emotion all the way through.
I also really liked the film’s antagonists. I will try not to spoil too much about the film, but I will point out that the antagonists are these two FBI agents who meet with Tom as he is trying to turn himself in. The police reveal that plenty of people have called them trying to claim they were the bank robber they were looking for, and when these two FBI agents find out this guy is for real, they try to take advantage of his earnings. I kind of like their motivation and the depth behind their backstories, especially when it comes to the character of Ramon Hall, played by Anthony Ramos. He’s got a kid, and it is brought up that when it comes to the amount of money at stake, one would probably want it all just to take care of a kid without a worry in the world. This movie is not going to be remembered as the greatest story ever told, but this side story from one of the villains did add something to the film itself.
I don’t know what it is about recent action films and dogs, I mean, “John Wick” and “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” if you can call it an action film, have become iconic because of their dogs and the scenes they’re in. Some of the best chemistry in this film comes from this tiny little dog, and Jeffrey Donovan. This comes from a guy who loathes dogs in real life, but even I will admit that every moment these two were on screen together amused me.
I will point out once again, “Honest Thief” is a pretty good action film, but that does not mean it does not come without flaws. For starters, despite how good it is, it really just covers the basics. Yes, you’ve got a kick-ass Liam Neeson who is not really phoning it in. You’ve got some slick-looking action. You’ve got a story that goes from point A to point B. But there’s nothing really that changes the game. It’s familiar content. Familiar is not always the worst adjective however, I enjoyed the familiarity of this movie. This movie is like that one cheap pizza place you may end up always ordering from. It may not be the best, but with the close location and inexpensive options, it makes itself pretty attractive. It’s a good pizza that gets the job done, nothing more. If you want to watch a good action movie, watch “Honest Thief,” but if you want to watch a great action movie, I don’t know, here’s another example with Liam Neeson, put on “Taken!” Skip the sequels, just watch the first one. Although parts of the third one are good. …Just, skip “Taken 2.” I’ve pretty much forgotten almost all of it by now.
If I had to state any other notable cons, it would probably just be one particular scene two thirds the way through the movie. I know that this movie does not have the biggest budget in the world, but given how it is 2020, the effects that a movie has should look at least somewhat real. To be completely honest, there’s this scene past the midway point of the movie with this really big explosion, the fire effects in that scene, especially towards the end, looked like they came from a middle of the road movie that came out in 2003.
Liam Neeson’s character of Tom, otherwise known as the In and Out Bandit, which… WHY DID THIS MOVIE NOT TAKE PLACE IN CALIFORNIA? What a missed opportunity! You know what? This guy’s from Massachusetts! He should be called the Dunkin and Dunkout Bandit! He’s on the run on Dunkin’! Anyway, this character took a lot of money from banks. Thankfully, this movie did not feel as if it was robbing me from start to finish. If you have a chance, give it a shot! I’d give it a thumbs up.
In the end, “Honest Thief” is a bit basic, somewhat familiar, but is entertaining enough to pass the time. Is it worth seeing in the theater? Well that depends. There’s not much playing at the cinema, and I know not everyone wants to go to the cinema. If you don’t want to see this in a cinema, I wouldn’t be surprised if it is out for home viewing by sometime next year. But if you choose to go to a theater and you want something big and loud, this is almost your best option unless “Unhinged” and “Tenet” are playing somewhere near you. If you are a fan of Liam Neeson, you like action, and you just want to see somebody kick some asses, this may be a good movie for you. Just because it has been done before, does not mean it is terrible. I am going to give “Honest Thief” a 7/10. So far I’ve seen two Liam Neeson movies this year. This one, and “Made in Italy.” I’ve stated positive thoughts on both films, so in my book, Neeson is 2 for 2 in 2020. Well done!
Thanks for reading this review! My next review is going to be for an unusual film. That my friends is the brand new animated musical “Over the Moon,” which hits Netflix October 23rd. Right now it is playing at select theatres if you want to see it early. I played a song from the movie on a loop as I did my review for “Honest Thief.”
…Take that as a hint for how good this movie is. I cannot wait to talk about it!
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