GFF 2013: The Thieves
This South Korean blockbuster incorporates stars and locations from across Asia, though is most strongly influenced by the American Ocean’s and Mission: Impossible franchises. A team of bickering Korean thieves team up with a Hong Kong group to rob a heavily-secured Macau casino of a precious diamond, a theft masterminded by a former partner. Everyone involved has a separate agenda and things – of course – don’t quite go according to plan.
As one might expect from its simple title, The Thieves isn’t high on originality, but execution is what matters and the film boasts an effective blend of breezy caper qualities, witty exchanges and dark turns that don't feel ill-fitting. Sadly, plot padding sees the film, lengthy for a heist thriller at 136 minutes, eventually wear out its welcome. The film's greatest asset is its ensemble rapport, but there's far less of this in the final act, which devolves into rote gun-play and elaborate, stunt-heavy action sequences mostly centred on one character. Though impressively realised on a technical level, this stretch is a lot less charming and thrilling than the heist material. [Josh Slater-Williams]