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The Thieves - Film Review

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by Lydia C. Lee (subscribe)
Lydia C. Lee is still trying to work out what to do with her one wild and precious life. She currently is a haphazard blogger. Read more at or
Published March 15th 2013
No honour among thieves
New to DVD is the latest from the Korean director Choi Dong-Hoon, and it is a brilliant cross-over film. If you don't like Asian cinema, this is still a film for you. It is not surprising that it's apparently the highest grossing film in Korean box office history.

It's very hard to talk about the plot without giving things away, but the film is a heist film with plenty of action, deception and revenge. It opens with an Ocean's Eleven feel, where a group of thieves gather to steal a $30 million dollar diamond from a Casino. However, it's not just the cops they need to be wary of, as the saying goes, there's no honour among thieves.

The cast is great, and while I haven't watched much Korean cinema, I gather they are all stars, as I recognised a few. The characters are well drawn and very likeable. Most of the humour translates well, though there is an ongoing race joke, between the Chinese and the Korean characters, that I take is akin to the Australian vs New Zealand rivalry. It does also mean some characters speak English with each other, and there's an odd American twang at times.

The film starts out as that straight forward heist film that Hollywood has trained us to understand, but as it evolves, I was delighted and at times shocked at how it unravelled. The CGI is used to great effect, and the locations stunning. It looks slick and there's plenty of action once things heat up. The subtitles have been done well, so there's a natural flow to the witty conversations.

My son, who has never watched a subtitled film, joined me and thought it was great, so it's definitely a cross over film that will appeal to all, not just Asian film buffs. My warning, don't read reviews until after - I knew nothing about it and was surprised along the way, and that made the film more enjoyable.

As one of the characters says "I'm just doing what we do" and doing it very, very well!

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