Director: Mark Williams
Cast: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan, Anthony Ramos, Robert Patrick
Runtime: 1 hr 39 mins
Rating: PG13 (Violence and Brief Coarse Language)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 22 October 2020
Synopsis: Career bank robber Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) is a former marine and demolitions expert who has robbed $9 million from 12 banks in 7 states. No one knows his true identity and they call him the In and Out bandit for his meticulous bank jobs. When he meets the love of his life Annie (Kate Walsh), he is inspired to right his past wrongs and leave behind his life of crime. He turns himself in to the FBI and forfeits the money in return for a plea deal and clean slate. When he calls the Boston FBI field office to confess and set a meeting, Agents Baker (Robert Patrick) and Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan) laugh it off as a prank. Instead, they send their subordinates, Agent Nivens (Jai Courtney) and Hall (Anthony Ramos). The two younger agents are shocked to discover that Tom is the real deal and see the stolen money as their golden ticket to a better life. So begins an intense, action-packed cat-and-mouse game where good and bad become tangled.
He was Darkman before the current era of Marvel and DC. He once led an A-Team. He fought wolves. He even solved a mystery on a plane. And he is largely known for possessing a special set of skills. He is none other than Liam Neeson.
Like Jackie Chan, the 68 year old lanky actor from Ireland has been talking about retiring from action cinema for a while. 2020 might be a weird year but everyone’s favourite uncle is still busy kicking ass and getting framed in his latest action thriller, Honest Thief.
Neeson plays Tom, an ex-marine bomb specialist dubbed by the authorities as an in-and-out bandit who stole millions from small-town banks. However, when Tom falls in love with Annie (Kate Walsh), a smart bubbly woman who works at a storage hub, Tom decides to settle down with her and quits his life as a burglar. But before that, Tom decides to surrender himself to the FBI with millions in tow.
Things start to get messy when the two FBI agents (played by Jai Courtney from A Good Day to Die Hard and Anthony Ramos from A Star Is Born) assigned to the case attempts to keep the cold hard cash and frame Tom for the murder of another senior FBI agent. Knowing Neeson who has a special set of skills or Tom in this case, he is not going to let them get away that easily.
It’s kind of disappointing to report that Honest Thief ranks among the lowest rung when it comes to generic action movies. The plotting is clichéd to the point that you can predict what the rogue agents are going to do next. Murdering the witness. Check. Retrieve the evidence. Check. Killing one another. Check. It goes from an average watchable flick to something that should be tossed to streaming. I know it’s kind of harsh to judge it this way but Honest Thief indeed never bring anything new to the cat-and-mouse game.
Never mind that Liam Neeson is playing the same character everytime. At least give the man something interesting to do instead of mere boring car chases and a couple of clumsy scuffling moves. Maybe he can even bake a pizza for Annie or bomb half of Boston. I mean Tom didn’t really has tonnes to do right here. He spent most of his time confessing to Annie rather than fighting the enemies. There is no real sense of urgency or momentum and pathetically, all the action bits are shown in the trailer.
Just when you are expecting more, the movie offers you less as the running time goes. Liam Neeson still has that imposing aura to command an action flick but he just seems tired and repetitive right here. Jai Courtney makes a better villain than a hero so it’s advisable for him to continue this career path. Veterans Robert Patrick and Jeffrey Donovan appear in relatively small roles.
It’s perfectly understandable if director Mark Williams wants to make Honest Thief a disposable dumb action flick. Sadly that’s not the case. The formula has been recycled too many times and there is even lesser action visuals combined as compared to the first 30 minutes of Mission Impossible 6. If you are walking into Honest Thief expecting Liam Neeson to blow up a plane, a train or half the streets of Boston, then I will be brutally honest to say - please dial down your expectations by a lot.
(Liam Neeson is fast running out of steam as the go-to senior citizen action uncle)
Review by Linus Tee