Honest Thief

 

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When a legendary bank robber decides to turn himself in, police incredulity makes things harder than he could have imagined.

   

Honest Thief

The good Irishman: Anthony Ramos, Liam Neeson and Jai Courtney 

  

There’s something reassuring about seeing Liam Neeson, now aged 68, still beating the crap out of the bad guys. Mark Williams’ Honest Thief is a nuts-and-bolts thriller but for the most part the nuts are well bolted. The twist is in the title: Liam is Tom Dolan, a bank robber who happens to be honest, while it’s Jai Courtney’s FBI agent who is as crooked as sin. When Dolan, for the sake of a good woman, decides to hand in his ill-gotten stash of $9m, Courtney’s amoral John Nivens sniffs the opportunity for a “personal retirement fund.”

 

Like many ageing action men, Tom Dolan served in the Marines before moving on to more profitable work. Trained in demolition, and after a fall-out with his bank, Dolan tailored his expertise to blowing up vaults. It wasn’t the money, you understand, it was because he could get away with it – and because of the adrenalin rush. And with his predilection for re-decorating the vaults he violated with a lick of paint – thus ‘white-washing’ the crime scene – the media dubbed him the ‘In-and-Out Bandit’.

 

Then Dolan meets Annie Wilkins and, being Liam Neeson, he resolves to go straight. Unlike many a B-movie bruiser, Liam is the family man-type – or at least with a good woman in tow. Here, his love interest is played by Kate Walsh and she’s a sparky romantic foil. Liam: “I love you.” Kate: “How could you not?” Thus, we care enough for her that the action scenes achieve some suspenseful traction.

 

However, Honest Thief may be pushing the cute quotient too far with the introduction of ‘Tazzie’, an irresistible pooch. The constant companion of good Fed Tom Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan), such canine accompaniment makes one question how legal Meyers’ modus operandi is. Still, as the credited dog trainer is none other than the film’s director, maybe one can overlook such softening of the edges.

 

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

 

Cast: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Robert Patrick, Anthony Ramos, Jeffrey Donovan, Jai Courtney, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Devon Diep, Tazzie.

 

Dir Mark Williams, Pro Mark Williams, Myles Nestel, Tai Duncan and Craig Chapman, Screenplay Steve Allrich and Mark Williams, Ph Shelly Johnson, Pro Des Tom Lisowski, Ed Michael P. Shawver, Music Mark Isham, Costumes Deborah Newhall, Sound David Esparza, Dog trainer Mark Williams.

 

Zero Gravity Management/The Solution Entertainment Group/Sprockefeller Pictures/Argonaut Entertainment Partners-Signature Entertainment.

98 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 23 October 2020. Cert. 15.