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Army of Thieves (2021)
Army of Thieves (2021)
2021 | Action, Comedy, Crime, Horror, Thriller
6.3 (7 Ratings)
Movie Rating
“Did He Just Say Gulp?”
I have Covid-19, and am confined to quarters. So time to catch up on some streaming films. New on Netflix is “Army of Thieves”, a quirky prequel, of sorts, to Zac Snyder’s “Army of the Dead“.

Plot Summary:
Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert (Matthias Schweighöfer) is a geek obsessed with the work of legendary safe-manufacturer Hans Wagner whose magnum opus was a series of four intricate safes named after the four parts of his namesake’s Ring cycle: The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung.

Seeking more the glory of cracking the legendary safes (rather than the riches within), high-class jewel-thief Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) teams with Sebastian to crack the three known safes (in Paris, Prague and St Moritz) before they are officially ‘retired’. Together with Korina (Ruby O. Fee), muscle-man Brad (Stuart Martin) and getaway driver Rolph (Guz Khan) the gang try to stay one step ahead of obsessed Interpol agent Delacroix (Jonathan Cohen).

US: TV-MA. UK: 15.

Starring: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen.

Directed by: Matthias Schweighöfer.

Written by: Shay Hatten (from a story by Shay Hatten and Zack Snyder).

“Army of Thieves” Review: Positives:
I really wasn’t expecting much from this offering. For me, the character of Dieter in “Army of the Dead” was an annoyingly quirky comedy character in a zombie-actioner that you just wanted to punch in the face…. repeatedly. But in contrast, this Dieter-centric film is deliberately quirky throughout and it just all worked for me. Under his own direction, Schweighöfer’s Sebastian/Dieter becomes a genuinely quirky, lovelorn and loveable loser that you want to root for.
The look and feel of the film is utterly glorious. The wonderful cinematography by Bernhard Jasper makes the introduction to the European locations feel Bond-like and the combination of Production Design and Special Effects make the safe-cracking scenes tense, dynamic and beautiful to watch. It’s all nicely rounded off by a quirky Steve Mazzaro / Hans Zimmer score.
Shay Hatten’s script delivers a nice balance of action and exposition. It actually – shock horror – takes time to flesh out some character behind the generic heist-movie stereotypes. Setting the movie in the same timeline as the emerging Nevada zombie-apocalypse as “Army of the Dead” is neat: (although those expecting extensive zombie-action will feel short-changed). And having the Las Vegas safe as the mythical Götterdämmerung is a nice touch. Above all – “SURPRISE!!!” – the script surpassed the essential six-laughs test.
The acting is above par, with Schweighöfer putting in a fabulous turn and the stunningly beautiful Nathalie Emmanuel (best known for being Ramsey in the Fast and Furious series) gets to be a lot more than mere window-dressing here. Stuart Martin is notable here for looking astonishingly like Hugh Jackman…. I mean, really, they could be twins.

I mean, honestly, there are more holes in this story than a St Moritz swiss-cheese. Why would all of the safes, owned by different private institutions, be being “decommissioned” due to a Zombie outbreak on the other side of the world? Can the Interpol team really be that incompetent? And however clever he is, I don’t buy that you can open safes like that!
Although I liked the balance of the script overall, the story is pretty simplistic and linear.

Summary Thoughts on “Army of Thieves”
Sometimes a little movie appears that surprises and delights you, and this was one of those for me. It’s not big and it’s not clever. But it is very nicely made, thoroughly entertained me and was – for me – way better than its source movie. A recommended watch on Netflix.
Army of Thieves (2021)
Army of Thieves (2021)
2021 | Action, Comedy, Crime, Horror, Thriller
6.3 (7 Ratings)
Movie Rating
Not going to sit and bash the bad points and big up what it does well but this is a film that wasn't needed. There was talk in the past to make a film with Tom Cruises character in Tropic Thunder as the lead and thankfully it wasn't made as they saw sense, the character as good as he was and memorable was because less is more. The screen time he got was well used and all lines hit the mark. Now moving back to Army of Thieves, the makers decided to make a prequel to Army of the Dead using the safe cracker character as he was 1 of the better points of that film but again was better due to limited screen time and there was enough about him in that film for what was required. Army of Thirves tries to use something that fits for 15 - 20 mins and stretch it out for a 127 minute film. It also wouldn't have been so bad if there was more to the film but it was the same thing 3 times over so after the 1st safe break you can switch off as that's all you're pretty much getting. It had some good set pieces and Matthias Schweighöfer did a pretty good job with a pretty thin on the ground character. Usually I would give this film an average review as it did enough to keep me entertained but due to the repetitiveness of the story and reminding me it was like Sucker Punch. Sorry but in this case less isn't more.
Army of the Dead (2021)
Army of the Dead (2021)
2021 | Action, Horror, Sci-Fi
6.7 (22 Ratings)
Movie Rating
I can't say that the name Zack Snyder held any pull to watching Army of the Dead. I'm still mad that I watched 8 hours of Justice League. But, I was sold on zombies and the poster, so I gave it a go.

Zombies have taken Las Vegas and the only option to end the danger is to raise the city to the ground. As the countdown to the cities destruction begins, a group of mercenaries are recruited to enter the quarantined zone for a wealthy businessman. Their retrieval mission will end with them getting out of the city safely, or the zombies getting them... whichever comes first.

A heist film with zombies and plenty of action? Three of my favourite things in one. The heist part is solid, it had time constraints to add tension, and the added peril of flesh eating monsters brought a bit of the unknown to each scene in the quarantine zone.

However... the idea doesn't pan out so well in production.

I enjoy Dave Bautista's acting career. Drax is a legend, and his dramatic yet comedic role in My Spy is great. Army of the Dead is a whole new ball game. Scott has the potential to be a really good lead, there's backstory, moments of action that Bautista is made for... but there's that script. There are so many points that diverge from what's happening that he ends up with something that hovers around average.

The humour between Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) and Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer) was fun. It wasn't quite a double act but it did cut through some of the more serious (and clunky) sections. My other call out is Tig Notaro. I loved the attitude she brings to her role, that's the level of sass I aspire to. It wasn't until after my viewing that I realised she had been CGId into the film as a last minute replacement. For the majority of the time I didn't notice, it's just one group shot as they enter Vegas that sticks out like a sore thumb. And with it being so early in proceedings, I was worried that it would be foreshadowing for what was to come.

Thankfully though, the effects were pretty good apart from that (and that tiger). The creatures were impressive and I was pleased to see that they still had the consistency of who the zombie population would be while they were inside the walls. Some of the action sequences may have been a little over the top, but it is a zombie action film so you've got to give it leeway.

I enjoyed Army of the Dead while I was watching it. But it's one of those films that changes when you think about it deeper. The main issue for me is that... this film doesn't need to happen... and a close second is that they attempt to give it a twist that comes to nothing, and because of that, ultimately felt bizarre. I don't think I'd mind watching it again, but I'm not feeling the urge to rush to Netflix.

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