Honest Thief [Blu-ray]
Blu-ray A - America - Universal Pictures
Review written by and copyright: Robert Segedy (24th February 2021).
The Film

"Honest Thief" (2020)

I know, yet another Liam Neeson starring in an old dude action flick; hey, I had to endure The Commuter (2018, as Michael MacCauley) previously, and thank goodness, that this film is easier for me to digest than that one was. So, I was contemplating this issue and I believe that it boils down to a matter of susceptibility. Can you simply accept the fact that the leading man is actually 68 years old and that he undoubtedly kick your ass as well? If that is not an issue for you, fine, however for us purists in attendance, that may be a sore point with the starís credibility. Yes, Tom Dolan (Liam Neeson) was an ex-marine with bomb scene experience and yes, he is certainly in great shape, but donít you crave a little vulnerability in your heroes? I mean, what stops this film from simply being a Marvel superhero cluster fest except that the script does seem to be a bit more well thought out and isnít a string of quick edits. We can probably thank scriptwriters Steve Allrich and director Mark Williams (the guy behind the wonderfully messy series Ozark, (2017) on Netflix) because they actually have produced an action thriller that delivers the goods but is not completely over the top. So, does that mean that it is worth watching? Let us take a closer look at the evidence in question.

Tom Dolan is an honest thief. I know, thatís a contradiction in terms but thatís the deal. Dolan has been tagged with the amateurish sounding label as the ďin and out banditĒ because thatís what the media does. He doesnít care for that tag and neither do I; It lacks all the pizazz necessary for an appropriate handle. Working from his home base of Boston for years, Dolan has chalked up quite a record of successful bank robberies. The reason for this is he is a thinking manís criminal. He has figured out a way to rob a number of banks in smaller towns without any use of force or a partner. Dolan is an isolated figure that is committing crimes not for the money; in fact, he hasnít spent a dime of the take. He is doing it for the hell of it; he misses the adrenalin rush of being in a tense situation, but getting out alive, just like he had experienced in his former career. I do not want to reveal his methods, but let me tell you, it is doable, and I am sure that someone watching this film, will think, I can do that too. Good luck partner. We all will read about your accomplishments in the paper.

So why the need to stop the fun, you ask? Well, you see, poor Tom is tired of living a lie. And thereís a dame. In fact, she is so special that he has thought this all out. He calls up the local FBI field office and tells the agent that picks up the phone that he is the infamous ďIn and Out BanditĒ and he wants to surrender. He is willing to come clean provided that the bureau promises him some specific clauses: he will turn over all the loot, all nine million dollars in cash, if he gets the following: a light sentence if he is housed in the Boston area with commutable visitation rights. Hey, the man has needs, right? That sounds like a fair deal, right? Bring in a most wanted suspect without any risk, get all the money back, and send the dude away for a couple of years. Unfortunately, there is a snag in the plan. One, the FBI doesnít negotiate with anyone. Two, it just doesnít go with established protocol. And three, what would J. Edgar think about all this? The two agents that are working this case are both seasoned and cynical men; they have seen it all before this. Agents Baker (Robert Patrick) and Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan) scoff at the criminalís largess, but before things can kick in, the decision is made to pass this task onto two new guys: Agents John Nivens (Jai Courtney) and partner Ramon Hall (Anthony Ramos). The two men are dispatched to call on Dolan at his hotel to see if he is legitimate. Yes, this does sound

rather unbelievable and it merely sets up a scenario where greed takes over and morals go out the window. The two agents knock on Dolanís door and there they are greeted by ordinary looking Schmow Tom Nolan. There is some questioning and ultimately it comes down to the proof of guilt; is this really the actual perpetrator or is this guy pulling a ridiculous prank? As the old saying goes, ďShow me the money.Ē Dolan is cooperative and produces the key to a storage locker. Iím thinking, yeah, right, no strings attached. Agents Nivens and Hall are doubtful, but it beats sitting around the office, so off they go to check out the storage unit. While there they encounter the manager Annie (Kate Walsh) who in reality is Dolanís squeeze and she is curious as to why the FBI would come a calling. The agents feed her some line of nonsense and they continue to load the trunk of the company car with boxes of neatly banded cash. Yes, Agent Nivens seems to be the Alpha dog in this partnership and he essentially bullies his milder partner into kowtowing to his will. Unfortunately, Agent Hall is the one with a conscious and he is also the one with a wife and kid at home. This detail helps make Hall seem a bit more realistic than his partner, Nivens, who is all testosterone and Red Bull. I couldnít help but want an actor with better chops for this part, say the likes of Clancy Brown, but Courtney was awarded the role and thereís no use in crying about the casting.

What follows is a surprisingly good action-oriented thriller with director Williams understanding that Neeson is the name on the marquee, hence the reason why people are watching this, and it is best to let him kick ass and take names. I must commend Williams for the remaining footage as it is nothing but entertaining. Neeson doesnít just phone it in and his ability to seem authentic is notable. In no time bodies are added to the total and the cat and mouse challenge between Nolan and Nivens is well done. Thereís plenty of car chases, hand to hand combat scenes and it appears that Neeson is actually enjoying himself in this genre that he has almost solely created. Saying that, I must add that I am not naturally a fan of this type of film, however I did not find myself making retching noises as the participants fight it out in the streets of Boston. The film is just long enough to be entertaining without overstaying its welcome and that is a plus in of itself. Thereís nothing remarkable here but then again, that isnít the point. Williams plays it close to the vest and he offers up a tight package of suspense that doesnít overreach or offend. If you are a fan of Neesonís, then this is worth a rental. Roll the credits!

Video

The visuals are pretty great on the big screen in the Blu-ray format. There is a nice clarity in the majority of the outdoor scenes and the visuals are strong. We are presented with some awe-inspiring aerial footage of the city and that is a nice touch.

Audio

The score by Mark Isham is workman like and nothing remarkable. The bullets ricocheting in the tight space was extremely well presented and I dug that. The car crash scenes could have used more bass for an effective use of the audio capabilities.

Extras

Nothing extra included.

Packaging

The set also includes a DVD copy of the film and a Digital HD copy of the film, packaged in a slip cased clam shell Blu-ray case.

Overall

Falling a few points of an A rating, this is a harmless action film that the entire family can enjoy on movie night. In general, this film will scratch the itch of those seeking adventure without bending the laws of plausibility. Not bad.

The Film: B+ Video: A Audio: A Overall: B+

 


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