June 8, 2013

The Thieves: Evidently, There Is an Oceans 14 in Asia

Although I've never seen Oceans 11, 12 or 13, Choi Dong-hoon's The Thieves strikes me as very similar to those glitzy, impeccably dressed star-studded caper pics. How much you like the movie has as much to do with how much you like the actors as you do the heist that's brought them all together. Here, you've got Kim Yun-seok (The Chaser) as a mastermind thief who assembles a crackerjack crew including Kim Hye-su (Tazza: The High Rollers) as his safe-cracker and Jun Gianna (My Sassy Girl) as a wire-walker who can break into any building. I'm less sure why he's hired Lee Jung-jae (Il Mare) as comic relief and wish he'd entrusted Kim Hae-suk (Thirst) with more to do but at least the movie has plenty of female power instead of one Julia Roberts or Catherina Zeta-Jones.

Joined by a half-dozen other shady types, these movie stars -- I mean crooks -- pool their talents in hopes of stealing the Tear of the Sun, a yellow diamond of enormous size and even greater value. (Black market estimates put its worth at around twenty million dollars.) As you can imagine, the jewel is very well-protected and given the checkered histories and double-crossing tendencies of all the criminals involved, pulling off this crime of the century isn't going to be so easy, especially when one of your partners is an undercover cop.

They also have to deal with an evil, bloodthirsty buyer (Ki Guk-seo) who seems an odd person to peddle your wares to given that he's been known to shoot the seller in order to get a better deal. But when you're trafficking in stolen goods, beggars can't be choosers. Nor can thieves. No matter how famous they are.

Postscript: I especially enjoyed seeing Shin Ha-kyun (Save the Green Planet) in the small role of the rich art collector who's always on the make with the ladies.

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