Mladen and Del review ‘Honest Thief’
“Honest Thief” Starring hot Kate Walsh, old Liam Neeson, decent bad guy Jai Courtney, remorseful Anthony Ramos, skeptical but open-minded Jeffrey Donovan and others. Directed by Mark Williams. 99 minutes. PG-13. Amazon Prime.
“Honest Thief” is an honest-to-goodness mediocre movie. It pulls a C+. The film’s woes in a moment. I’m obliged to provide a summary first to sedate Del’s urge to nag me about it.
Liam Neeson as Tom Carter falls in love with perfect woman Annie Wilkins played by Kate Walsh. Carter decides that the relationship will suffer unless he comes clean with his dark past, which ain’t all that dark if you ask me. Stealing from the rich to keep some for yourself and give some to the poor is OK with me.
Anyway, Tom tries to confess to the FBI that he’s a long-wanted bank robber and cut a deal to serve less time in the hoosegow so that he can spend more time with Annie. As The Fixx will tell you, one thing leads to another and, pretty soon, Tom and Annie are on the run from a couple of corrupt FBI special agents trying to steal the money that he robbed from assorted financial institutions.
Toss in guilt trips, a murder or two and attempted murders, violations of the oath to serve and protect, EOD expertise, lots of PG-13 gun play, and a healthy house-destroying detonation and you’ve got a pretty standard tale of a somewhat bad man, a thief, attempting to do the right thing, be honest.
Casting old Neeson as an adroit, strong brawler and an ace car driver provokes one of my biggest movie-going peeves. Action films cannot be propelled by aged dudes. And, Neeson is gaunt to boot, so it’s impossible for him to use sheer bulk as the source of a powerful punch. I’m somewhat old and would, no doubt, break many a bone falling from a two-story window whether I’m locked in fisticuffs with a Bureau baddie or not. Hell, I’m not even convinced Tom would be able to lift the uber-drill he uses to break into bank vaults made of thick steel.
Even more of an impossibility is that someone as fine as Annie would fall for a semi-mummy-looking fellow such as Tom. That said, Walsh does a good job making the movie flow. She’s convincing as a girlfriend who goes from disbelieving and troubled that her beau is a bank robber to a willing accomplice intrigued by Tom’s techno-skills.
In fact, it’s getting to the point where I’ll consider watching a movie starring Walsh even if the genre is crap. For example, she was very good in “Grey’s Anatomy.” My daughter made me watch the show.
“Honest Thief” knows what it is. A passable film that’ll draw a sufficient number of viewers to make some bank. I imagine it also took no more than a week to make, freeing Neeson to shoot another film where he can pretend to be as strong as the 30-year-olds he’s fighting.
I would make a lousy Robin Hood because I am not as sanguine as Mladen about stealing from the rich to give to the poor. I thought the whole point of capitalism was to let people come up with a great idea, work their ass off, sell it for billions of dollars and enjoy the financial fruits of their labor.
Being rich doesn’t mean a person is evil. Breaking the rules and stealing – those things are evil. So with that thought I segue into my critique of “Honest Thief”: It was a decent enough action movie based on a ridiculous premise.
Throughout my viewing of I heard a voice inside telling me, “This is ridiculous. Nobody but NOBODY would behave like this.”
And by “this” I mean what Mladen wrote: “Liam Neeson as Tom Carter falls in love with perfect woman Annie Wilkins played by Kate Walsh. Dolan decides that the relationship will suffer unless he comes clean with his dark past … Tom tries to confess to the FBI that he’s a long-wanted bank robber and cut a deal to serve less time in the hoosegow so that he can spend more time with Annie. As The Fixx will tell you, one thing leads to another and, pretty soon, Tom and Annie are on the run from a couple of corrupt FBI special agents trying to steal the money that he robbed from assorted financial institutions.”
What Mladen omitted in his otherwise acceptable summary was the reason for Tom Carter’s bank-robbing spree. It was to avenge a miscarriage of justice inflicted on his father by a bank. I’m rolling my eyes as I write this.
THAT is a ridiculous premise.
What follows is a corny, formulaic beat-’em-up that explodes every house, falls off every ledge and lands every roundhouse you would expect from a man with a particular set of skills. Liam Neeson gimps his way through the plot with respectable dexterity – I mean, the guy is 68 years old, which is only two years older than yours truly, and I would not want to have my teeth kicked by anybody, much less a corrupt FBI agent. But I would agree with Mladen that maybe he’s a tad long in the tooth for those kinds of roles. To go on would be a mis-taken.
I enjoyed the action and I thought Kate Walsh and Jai Courtney were the standout actors. Neeson was his usual post-AARP good guy with a pacemaker. The characters were props for the action, however, and that’s what I remember best from “Honest Thief.”
Mladen gave the movie a C+. I’ll be a little more generous and say it’s a B-. The unbelievable premise knocks it down from a solid B.
Mladen Rudman is a former newspaper reporter and technical writer. Del Stone Jr. is a former newspaper editor and author.