Film Review: The Thieves

By Kevin Young

The Thieves is an action-comedy directed by the renowned Korean crime-thriller director, Choi Dong-hoon. It follows the story of a band of Korean thieves pulling off high stake heists. The leader of this crime syndicate, the flamboyant and cocky, Popie (Lee Jung-jae) informs his colleagues that they will all be traveling to Hong Kong to pull off one last grand scheme. They are going to have to work under Popie’s former boss, the sly-fox Park Macao (Kim Yoon-seok). Popie brings along their former partner and Park Macao’s former lover, the safecracking specialist, Pepsi (Kim Hye-soo).

They join forces with Chen’s (Simon Yam) adept Chinese thieves to steal one of the world’s rarest gold diamonds from Madame Tiffany the mistress of the ruthless Chinese mobster, Wei-Hong. As the story unfolds it becomes apparent that each thief has their own agenda and is willing to betray one another for greed or lust.

As the film progresses it depicts flashbacks of multiple characters. Chen once having had the diamond in his procession had to give it up to Wei-Hong or be killed instead. Popie initially betrayed Park Macao on a job in the past. Julie the Chinese safecracking specialist, (Angelica Lee) is an undercover cop, pretending to work with the thieves to bring down both Park Macao and Wei-Hong.

While infiltrating the casino that Madame Tiffany is staying at, the master plan is ruined after Park Macao betrays all of the thieves by tipping off the authorities of what’s going on and then by escaping unscathed with the diamond himself. Park Macao cleverly manipulates them all into doing his dirty work. This becomes a fast paced escape for survival as every thief is on their own with police ready to apprehend them.

After nearly escaping capture and death, the surviving thieves, Popie, foolish Andrew (Oh Dal-soo), the promiscuous cat-like burglar Yenicall (Jun Ji-hyun) and Pepsi are enraged that Park Macao double-crossed them. Simultaneously, Julie leads a platoon of swat cops to snake out Park Macao. Yet things

become complicated for both the thieves and cops when Wei-Hong comes to retrieve the diamond from Park Macao. Wei-Hong didn’t come alone either, he brought his renegade mobsters armed with machine guns.

Kim Soo-hyun

The film has an explosive unforgettable ending. There are so many different betrayals in this film it’s hard to keep count. The suspenseful chase scenes, the frenzied action sequences, and the farcical banter will keep viewers tuned in the whole movie. It’s no wonder this blockbuster film is the second highest grossing film in South Korean history.

Jun Ji-hyun

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