Writer: Peter ChaiWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast: Plot: Effects: Cinematography: Watch this if you liked:
“Ocean’s Eleven” and “The Big Swindle”
Directed by Choi Dong Hun, "The Thieves" is an action-packed comedy that follows a bunch of professional thieves, who get themselves into the biggest mission of their lives- stealing a 20 million dollar diamond necklace called Tears Of The Sun from a casino in Macau. Veteran thief Macao Park (Kim Yoon-suk), the brain behind the challenging task, gathers his partners from across South Korea including Popeye (Lee Yung-Jae), Yenicall (Jeon Ji-hyun), Chewing Gum (Kim Hae-Suk) and someone whom he did not invite, his old lover named Pepsee (Kim Hye-soo) in Hong Kong to meet the Chinese thieves that consist of Chen (Simon Yam), Andrew (Oh Dal-Su), Julie (Angelica Lee) and Johnny (Kwok Cheung Tsang) for a game plan. Together as a team, each of them follow Park's instructions to get closer to the diamond. However, they are not aware that they are yet to encounter a great danger as Park is unknowingly using their abilities to reach his own purpose through the Chinese mafia Wei Hong.
The moment you watch the movie and meet the great ensemble from South Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia, you will notice similarities that are comparable to Hollywood's "Ocean's Eleven". However, instead of portraying how tricky and tough the thieves are pulling off a huge theft, the director has instilled more emotional sentiments into the storyline. For example, the audiences are able to fall into the struggling and misunderstood relationship between Macao Park and his old flame Pepsee before, during and after their mission in Macau to understand their feelings for each other against the stunning wire-flying, gun-firing and other explosive stunts at different settings.
The reviewer however, is not satisfied with the linguistics of the film. Listening to the South Korean cast speaking Mandarin with a Korean accent along with Cantonese and English at the same time, creates confusion and annoyance among the audience even though we get a helping hand from the subtitles as our brains are too occupied by simply navigating and shifting to process the different language changes that happen constantly.
Casting Angelica Lee as a thief and undercover cop is perhaps not the best of choice as it downgrades the performance of the Hong Kong Film Award Best Actress on the silver screen. The way she attempts to open a tight security locker and whenever she holds a gun in an action flick like "The Thieves", it does not look as convincing as her portrayal of taking on mysterious roles as seen in her previous horror films.
Looking at the brighter side of the movie, Jeon Ji-hyun is easily the one who steals the show. Playing the sexy Yenicall with a cheeky and naughty attitude reminds us of her brilliant appearance in the South Korean classic "My Sassy Girl". Her bitchy demeanor that goes up against her older partner Pepsee, will tickle one enough to laugh out loud in the cinema.
Overall, "The Thieves" has its own twists and is not an complete bad attempt from the Korean filmmakers at all. You should watch it yourself to find out what makes it the highest-grossing film of Korean cinema history at present time. Cinema Online, 11 October 2012