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Honest Thief Review

Master thief Tom Dolan (Liam Neeson) decides to hand himself in and pay back his stolen $9 million hauls all in the name of love. But when he is double-crossed by two Feds (Jai Courtney, Anthony Ramos) who nab the money for themselves, he has to go on the offensive to clear his name.

Honest Thief is a slight step-up from the usual Liam Neeson revenge punch-upper. Directed by Mark Williams, the co-creator of Netflix’s favorite Ozark, it takes everyone’s favorite taciturn vengeance merchant and gives him slivers of character and interesting things to play. It ultimately devolves into a routine, perfectly passable crime thriller, but it has enough to lift it above the likes of Taken 2Unknown, and The Commuter in the action section of the actor’s résumé.

It all starts very promisingly. After an opening news-report montage that sets Neeson’s Tom Dolan up as master thief ‘The In-And-Out Bandit’, we essentially get a meet-cute as Neeson has some charming interplay with the storage unit manager Annie (Kate Walsh) while he looks to stash his stolen wonga. A year later, the pair are in a relationship and Tom surprises Annie with a house and an offer to move in (again cue some cute banter). Soon Tom’s M.O. becomes clear — he is going to ’fess up to his crimes, hand back the $9 million and do a minimal sentence so he can get back to life with Annie ASAP. The fly in the ointment comes when nefarious Fed John Nivens (Jai Courtney) decides he is going to steal the dosh and place all the blame on Dolan.

Built around a fruitful idea — a master criminal choosing to hand himself in — Honest Thief begins by doing something modern action flicks rarely do: lavishing time and care on its characters. Beyond the Tom-Annie dynamic, even the cops get to talk about things other than plot, with veteran agents Baker (Robert Patrick) and Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan) discussing divorce and dogs. There are some nice character quirks — Dolan hates the sloppy In-And-Out Bandit moniker but admits ‘The Precise Bandit’ doesn’t work — and the film is good on the minutiae of how the thief pulls off his jobs, targeting smaller banks with older vaults that are next door to empty buildings.

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Genre: Reviews