08th Dec2020

‘Honest Thief’ Review

by Kevin Haldon

Stars: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan, Robert Patrick | Written by Steve Allrich, Mark Williams | Directed by Mark Williams

A little while back I read an interview with Liam Neeson basically saying that after a solid few years of churning out action flick after flick, that were basic carbon copies of Taken, he was taking time away from the genre. I was pretty happy to see this because, while it was always good to see Neeson being cast in films, they were all just becoming really, really, similar and it sounded like he wanted to flex his acting chops properly again.

Cut to now and we have Honest Thief. The poster is your typical Neeson Taken knock-off poster; the trailer is your typical Neeson knock-off trailer; and the cast didn’t exactly fill me full of hope – with the likes of Jai Courtney in the mix. But wait, Neeson said he was done with this saturated genre he has got himself knee deep into, maybe I am prejudging to quickly maybe just maybe… I have this one wrong!

No spoilers just yet guys but I was wrong, he said he was done with action and well with Honest Thief he has stuck to his word because this is not your typical Taken knock-off! Oh don’t get me wrong, it’s trying desperately to be one of those movies, it wants the action; it wants the gunplay and choreography; but holy sh*t does it fail on every level. Let’s just get into this before my review becomes as boring as this flick.

Liam Neeson plays a retired Marine who has taken to robbing banks. In a series of years he has amassed a stolen fortune of roughly 9 million. We don’t get to see any of this though we just catch the tail end of one and then cut to him buying a storage unit from Hannah’s mum from 13 Reasons Why (Kate Walsh). The movie has barely started and we have not really seen anything of interest then… smash cut to a year later. Neeson has apparently given up the life in favor of Kate Walsh and has decided to turn himself into the FBI. He is put through to senior detectives Robert Patrick and Jeffrey Donovan who pass the case to Jai Courtney and his pal (assumedly because we have to kill Patrick in a little bit anyway). Jai Courtney and his partner end up trying to steal the money and frame Neeson for the death of Robert Patrick. So now the hunt is on as Neeson try’s to clear his name…

Honest Thief really is standard by-the-numbers fare; only the action really isn’t that great, it’s okay and passable but we have seen better. The story is actually pretty intriguing but gets bogged down with the old “Liam Neeson is framed for murder and has to clear his name” cliche. I think this is the third or fourth time now(?) Unfortunately this film feels REALLY long and I was surprised to see it’s only 100-minutes because for a movie called Honest Thief the only thing I could see being stolen was my time!

Performances wise, I can’t really knock anyone too hard on this because they are all doing what they do best – blend in while Neeson goes through the motions. Kate Walsh is less annoying than she was in 13 Reasons and honestly feels like she is trying to prop up this movie, so that is a bonus. The writing is on the wall for Robert Patrick the moment you realize he is in the movie, it’s pretty obvious he won’t be around for long but he is dependable for his duration. Jai Courtney is his generic self but I have to say I’m coming around to him as an actor; and he at least looks like he wants to be okay here. I like Jeffrey Donovan as an actor, Burn Notice was a good show and I won’t ever apologise for liking Blair Witch 2 in which he is giving 180 percent more of a f**k than that movie deserved BUT here he is just given nothing to do but wade through some clunky dialogue and cash his cheque.

Director Mark Williams has had a varied career so far and been a producer on some seriously good flicks like Affleck’s The Accountant and the Andrew Scott film Steel Country. He is even credited as a co-creator of TV show Ozark, so I am left wondering what happened here. There is an interesting story to be told but Honest Thief seems to take all the really compelling stuff away and stick to the tropes.

Honest Thief absolutely has an audience. The kind of audience that just want to be entertained by Liam Neeson and I’m not knocking that, we all have our thing and if that’s you, then this movie was made for you. It would seem I now need something more from these movies than just the rinse and repeat formula. I can’t say I recommend Honest Thief. I will keep an eye on Williams and hope to see better next time, I feel he could of done way better here and we have not seen his best. But hey it’s Neeson so the movie will make it’s money!

** 2/5


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