Review: 'Honest Thief' title_ext

Honest Thief movie poster

Man, Liam Neeson is looking old. And tired. And acting naive. In Honest Thief, his latest in a long line of B- and C-grade thrillers where he plays an unassuming badass, Neeson meets the woman of his dreams and as a result decides to turn himself, and the millions of dollars he stole over the course of his illustrious career as a bank robber, into authorities in exchange for a reduced sentence.

That’s not how it works in real life, nor is it how it works in the movie, but it is what it is, a prime example of the film’s lack of attention to detail. Still, it sets up the serviceably decent premise at hand, which puts him on the run after he is suspected of killing an FBI agent—who was actually murdered by a pair of other agents looking to steal the money.

There’s nothing offensively wrong about Honest Thief, but that’s part of the problem: it’s yet another uninspired production where Neeson, a terrific actor when required of him, mails in the same performance he’s been mailing in for over a decade, playing a seemingly nice dude with a particular set of skills.

He was already getting up there in years in 2008’s Taken; 12 years later he looks downright geriatric to where it’s neither plausible nor enjoyable to watch him battle bad guys. In one scene, he plummets from a fourth floor (?) building and walks away with barely a limp, though I’m pretty sure he was supposed to be running at the end. In others, he is able to win in hand-to-hand combat with much younger and trained special agents. While the movie never attempts to be a full-on action movie, the action found within is lackluster at best.

The writing isn’t much better. While the plot could have worked with the right filmmakers, the movie at hand comes off as incredibly generic and increasingly stupid. After his girlfriend (Kate Walsh) looks rightfully disgusted that her boyfriend is a wanted man and criminal facing serious jail time, she later stares at him with stunned arousal that he just blew up a man’s house. The characters’ actions become increasingly questionable as the story progresses, often working against the film’s attempts to at least be taken moderately seriously, even if it was never meant to be the second coming of Christ.

To its credit, Honest Thief is moderately entertaining and fast paced, the easy-to-watch kind of movie intended for a rainy afternoon. But that doesn’t mean it should be commended or recommended, because Honest Thief is honestly not that good.

Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.


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