Honest Thief review: backsides must be kicked

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Liam Neeson headlines Honest Thief, that’s headed to the top of the UK box office – and here’s our review of the movie.

Whilst many larger companies have moved releases away from cinemas this side of Christmas, Signature Entertainment is one of those that – with the minimum of fuss – has set about filling the gap. In a nimble bit of programming, it’s promptly moved Honest Thief up to a wide UK release, with IMAX on top. It’s just the kind of mainstream action drama that’s otherwise been a bit missing.

Neeson was, of course, knocking films like this out on an annual basis not too long ago. He very much knows what he’s doing, and most of us are equally well schooled in the rules. In this one, he plays an infamous bank robber. The kind of bank robber who robs for generally good reasons, but he’s also keen to go straight. For Tom – his character – has found a new love in his later years, Kate Walsh’s Annie. It’s really simple: he just wants to turn himself in, hand back the millions he’s nicked, do his time, and then head off into the sunset with his new partner. What could go wrong?

Well. The problem comes when he tries to hand the cash back, and let’s just say that not all the police officers he encounters are entirely on the level. As such, he finds himself without his cash, framed, and in a bit of a bad mood. Asses must, thus, be kicked.

Not that the film is necessarily about kicking too many of them. Co-writer and director Mark Williams instead chooses to spend a bit of time with his characters, and to build them up a little. He’s cast his film well too, with Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan and Robert Patrick delivering able and welcome work. Both Neeson and particularly Walsh are the standouts. And then when the action kicks in, Williams handles that well.

It’s pretty good this, too. Certainly a significant upgrade on the last two Taken films for a start, it fits Neeson comfortably, and he remains a charismatic lead. Williams has clearly put in the work to give this a little bit more to it than your standard film of this ilk, and he does make progress there. On the flipside, it’s not too tricky to work out where the movie’s going, and it’s a very straightforward piece of work. Fun while it’s on, gone when it’s not. Mind you, in current times, who could grumble with that?

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