Is there such a thing as a good criminal? Well, it certainly depends on the motivation with which the crime was committed. Liam Neeson stars as a successful bank robber who decides to make a drastic change in his life- he wants to turn himself in, in order to be able to live a life free from the crimes he committed in the past. That is until he is double crossed by two crooked FBI agents. That is the basis for Honest Thief, the newest addition in the Liam Neeson action collection and despite a promising plot, the film turns into myriad of boring scenes, several plot holes and overall an experience that just may disappoint fans of Liam Neeson.
The film opens with Tom (Liam Neeson) interacting with a middle aged woman named Annie (Kate Walsh). She works at a self storage facility where Tom is looking to store some things of his after relocating to the city of Boston. A year passes and he and Annie are in a relationship. They appear happy together and Tom wants to take the next step in their relationship and suggests that he and Annie move in together. Before anything is offical, Tom has some issues he wants to work out. Over the past several years, he has been responsible for a number of bank robberies spanning multiple state lines. He has stolen over $9 million dollars but always robbed when the banks were closed. The media gave him the moniker of “the In-and-Out Bandit”, a name he doesn’t seem to care for.
He checks into a hotel and contacts the local FBI and arranges a meet where he can turn himself in. The agents that are sent to him are Nivens (Jai Courtney) and Hall (Anthony Ramos). They’ve heard this story before as he makes his confession; they’ve heard others over the years and think that this newest guy to come forward is another crank looking for fame. To their surprise, he’s the actual robber! He tells them where the money is stored, every single penny and they later confirm it. While checking out his claim, these two FBI agents discover the money and decide on the whim to steal it for themselves. You can pretty much guess what happens next. A fight breaks out and now Tom is hunted by the FBI, or in this case, the two corrupt agents.
I’m not sure if the script was limited by a small budget but there are a number of plot holes that I spotted during the screening. First, only these FBI agents are involved in the pursuit of Tom, hardly any local police are involved in the manhunt and even the action sequences themselves are quite tame to say the least. While most fans of Liam Neeson’s action flicks have enjoyed the over-the-top action, this movie settles for the more simplistic action and if you’re someone who’s looking for that then this movie may suffice. Otherwise, the film is a rather bore to sit through.
Jeffrey Donovan is Meyers, a FBI in charge of the investigation of finding Tom, but even Donovan looks rather tired in this movie. In fact, downright exhausted. While the script is simple, I didn’t find myself excited by what was happening on the screen and for the two corrupt FBI agents, I balked at the idea that they were good at their job by the way they handled the situation they’ve put themselves into. Jai Courtney does a good job at playing the evil one but I didn’t get the impression that they were actual FBI agents who were good at their job. The script by Steve Allrich and the film’s director Mark Williams feels weak and uninspired. It feels like a lame attempt at an action film only Liam Neeson is the star attached to make people go to the theater to see it. Sadly, I almost fell asleep while viewing the film and sure, the script did offer some chuckles along the way, but overall I felt disappointed in all that I witnessed.
Score 1 out of 5
Honest Thief had the potential to be another fun action movie from Liam Nesson and sadly settles for cheap thrills, an uninspired script and boring villians. Perhaps, I’ve gotten used to the insane script from Nesson’s previous action bouts, but this film is a sad excuse for an action movie. The cliches are ever so present and the plot holes will have you scratching your head. It’s largely forgetttable and I only wished that the filmmakers could’ve given this movie an adrenaline shot of excitement because that was exactly what I was pining for. Honest Thief is one honest mistake to call a fun time at the theater and especially once it arrives on streaming and DVD. Just revisit his older action movies, those are at the very least somewhat fun and engaging.