10th Nov2021

‘Army of Thieves’ Review (Netflix)

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Matthias Schweighofer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Christian Steyer | Written by Shay Hatten | Directed by Matthias Schweighofer

With the release of Army of the Dead, Netflix gave us a fun zombie film that was pretty throw away but promised more. One character that stole the movie though was Ludgwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer) so it’s only fair that a prequel, Army of Thieves, would focus on the safe cracking hero.

Living a boring life in Germany, we discover how Dieter became the legendary safe cracker he did. We also meet the titular Army of Thieves who worked with him to pull off some of the biggest European heists, before his sights were set on the zombie infested Las Vegas bank job.

Where Army of the Dead was more about non-stop high-action zombie battles, in Army of Thieves they are little more than anxiety nightmares and perhaps premonitions for Dieter. The real focus here is his love of safes, and more interestingly the story of the safes that he must cracked as part of the heists he becomes a part of.

The crew he joins includes Gwendoline Starr (Nathalie Emmanuel), the scene stealing Korina Dominguez (Ruby O. Fee), action hero Brad Cage (Stuart Martin), and so-called drift king Rolph (Guz Khan). All the members of the group are likeable, other than Brad Cage, who of course has to play the asshole of the group.

The heists in Army of Thieves are well thought out, and the action sometimes feels like something out of movies like Oceans 11, and even Baby Driver at times. The scenes are slick, no time is wasted, and the characters are allowed to be breathe, showing their own weaknesses and strengths and most importantly feeling fleshed out.

While Dieter may be the main focus of the movie, arguably though the scene stealer this time is the character of Korina, the hacker. Whether it’s trying to get attention from her fellow group members, that sly little look she gives that convey what she is thinking about them, or the advice she hands out, Roby O. Fee really makes the character shine out in this performance.

Another important character of course is that of Hans Wagner (Christian Steyer) and his safes. They become characters in the story, and their history is vital to what happens in Army of Thieves. This is something that made this movie superior in some ways to movies like Oceans 11 for me. It’s much more personal while managing to be stylish. Each safe that the team crack has it’s own personality and it’s own history, making the heists seem to matter more than just being about money.

There are some issues with Army of Thieves of course, like the overall story is predictable at times, but in truth that doesn’t really matter that much. This is just one of those fun movies that Neflix does so well right now. What makes it stand out though is it’s heart and the fact that the characters are easy to care about. Something that many films these days seem to forget about.

****½  4.5/5

Army of Thieves is available on Netflix now.
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Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek
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