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The Thieves (Dodookdeul)

Movie Details

The Thieves (Dodookdeul)
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Date: 2012-10-12 Limited
  • Running Time: 136 min.
  • Director: Dong-hun Choi
  • Cast: Gianna Jun, Hae-suk Kim, Hye-su Kim, Soo Hyun Kim, Yun-seok Kim, Angelica Lee, Jung-Jae Lee, Dal-su Oh, Kwok Cheung Tsang, Simon Yam
  • Producer: Yeong-hwan Choi
  • Writers: Dong-hun Choi, Lee Gi-Cheol
  • Distributor: Well Go USA
  • Official Site: The Thieves (Dodookdeul) Official Site

Easier to like than it is to follow, Choi Dong-hoon's glossy caper boasts all the pomp and cajolery of the true international blockbuster. It's like some populist pan-Asian restaurant with too many menu pages and Ocean's Eleven playing on a flat-screen over the bar. You never want to leave, until suddenly you feel queasy and punished. The essential operation involves Korean and Chinese crews in uneasy cahoots for a Macau casino heist, with several stars graciously allowed their often daffy individual variations on suavity. Their target is a $20 million diamond, but really this is about the journey--galloping through lots of peppy infighting and Hong Kong action homage toward the climactic showdown between a chilly mobster (Kee Kook-seo) and a charismatic criminal mastermind (Kim Yun-seok). Choi keeps things brightly lit and twinkling with the glamour of Zippo flicks, pocket picks, safe cracks, and double-crosses, plus some signature mix of menace and comic relief. Stuffed with free-floating flashbacks and schemes within schemes, The Thieves reminds us how mass-market storytelling is after all just one big compulsion to create a diversion. This didn't get to be Korea's highest-ever grosser by accident.

Jonathan Kiefer

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