Language: Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese, English
Genre: Action, comedy, crime, heist
Running Time: 2 Hours 17 Minutes
Director: Choi Dong-hun
Cast: Kim Soo-Hyun, Gianna Jun, Simon Yam, Lee Sinje
Synopsis: “In order to let things cool down from their latest heist, Popeye and his group of thieves go to Macao on a job. But the mastermind behind this job is none other than Popeye`s old partner Macao Park, who escaped with 68kg of gold several years ago on their last job together. Macao Park brought Chinese thieves as well but little did they know what Macao Park planned for each one of them. But his plan takes an unexpected turn when Popeye brings Pepsi, an old flame of Park, to settle the old score” (GSC Movies).
Verdict: Basically a Korean version of Ocean’s Eleven (2001) with its own twist. The most notable differences about this heist film compared to the American one are the lack of trust between the characters in the story and… Gianna Jun (Jun Ji-Hyun), who shows that she can do more than just romance comedies with that sweet face and hot body. The movie’s weaknesses are obvious – unoriginal plot (why do filthy rich people always have a diamond for thieves to steal at a casino or a hotel), poor dialogues, strange casting (why do they have Korean actors playing Chinese characters when they can’t even speak the language fluently?), massive confusion caused by language, police too typically incompetent, and funny flaws. The movie also tries to play with emotions but fails due to poor character development. However, despite all that, The Thieves is a still an enjoyable action comedy with plenty of abseiling action at tall buildings (some may say that they’re copied Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol‘s Burj Khalifa Tower scene).
Second opinion: “Fun to watch” (Iris Loong; has never seen Ocean’s Eleven, Twelve or Thirteen).
Subtitles: There’s no English subtitles at Malaysian cinemas. There are scenes where it’s too bright to see the words and scenes with quick long dialogues that I just couldn’t follow both the picture and the subtitles. Also, there are a few scenes where the subtitles just disappears. I suspect it’s cause the Mandarin that the Korean actors speak is difficult to understand.
Malaysian censorship: ALL kissing scenes are cut.
Rating: 3 / 5
[SPOILER SECTION BEGINS HERE]
Bad heist plan: A group of Korean & Hongkie thieves want to steal a diamond from the mistress of a big time gangster at a casino and part of their plan is to have Chen (Simon Yam) and Chewing Gum (Kim Hae-sook) gamble with the mistress to keep her at the casino’s VIP room. Never mind about how confident they are on just purely gambling but for a veteran as professional as Chen to plan to rob the VIP room so carelessly and to actually think he could escape just don’t make any sense.
Worst scene: Both Pepsi (Kim Hye-soo) and Julie (Angelica Lee Sinje) bump into the police during their escape in the casino. The police check their record and handcuff Pepsi, believing she’s a suspect but they skip their check the Julie just because Pepsi tells them that “she’s not her company”.
Poor dude: Zampano (Kim Soo-hyun) sacrifices himself to lure the police away from his fellow heist member, Yenicall (Gianna Jun), whom he has a crush on, and gets arrested. Yenicall survives all the way in the movie but Zampona is never seen again after that scene. I bet he learnt to masturbate before going on a heist.
[SPOILER SECTION ENDS HERE]