Vampire Owl: And now we are talking about some thieves.
Vampire Bat: We are not talking about the thieves who raided the vampire outpost.
Vampire Owl: There are other thieves who should be of our concern?
Vampire Bat: They don’t break into the Dracula castle, so not our concern.
Vampire Owl: Well, they can steal from the zombies and werewolves.
Vampire Bat: What would they steal from a zombie? A lost brain?
Vampire Owl: There is always something to steal for those who want to.
Vampire Bat: Okay, like stealing a witch’s heart.
Vampire Owl: A vampire thief would go for blood instead.
Vampire Bat: Vampires have never been real thieves. We steal only the appreciation with some special claps.
[Gets a vegetable puffs and three cups of white tea].
What is the movie about? :: Sebastian Schlencht-Wohnert (Matthias Schweighofer) is living a common, boring life, working in a bank in the German city of Potsdam. He is used to coming up with Youtube videos about safecreacking that has no viewers and zero comments until someone leaves a comment on his most recent video, about a safecracking competition. He has nightmares about zombies after watching news about the creatures unleashing themselves in Las Vegas, forcing the United States government to send the military forces there, only to mess up the whole thing, leading to a final quarantine of the whole area. He goes on to win the competition, shocking everyone. The very nexy day, Gwendoline Starr (Nathalie Emmanuel) introduces herself, a skilled jewel thief who had commented upon his YouTube video. Gwendoline then introduces herself to the man, a skilled and Interpol wanted jewel thief who had commented upon his YouTube video so that she could recruit him for one grand heist which nobody has done before, after which they will have the perfect life without the mundane bothering them again.
So, what happens with the events here as we just keep looking? :: She would have Sebastian as the safecracker, she would be thief, Korina Dominguez (Ruby O Fee) their expert hacker who has been doing it from the age of ten, Rolph (Guz Khan) their getaway driver and Brad Cage (Stuart Martin) their gunman to keep them safe during the whole heist which is going to be one grand adventure. Rolph doesn’t like Sebastian at all, while Brad hopes that he doesn’t mess this up. For meeting up and as a safe house, they have chosen a house which is off the grid. They have to break into three banks which have three safes created by a legendary locksmith. The first one is in Paris, and has the least amount of money. They feel that this might be the easiest of them all, but it might be more difficult than they think, and the other two are long way ahead as far as the difficulty level is concerned. The last two will be in two other European countries, Czech Republic and Switzerland, and shall require better planning than the one in French, with even better team work, but the question remains if they are good enough to pull up those heists as a team – then there is Interpol after them.
The defence of Army of Thieves :: There has been the shortage of some good heist movies, and the biggest release of the genre was Red Notice – it was focusing more on its superstars rather than the act of heist itself, and we have this one which basically focuses on the act in a much better way. There is some quick action with the heist going on with some fine plans in the background – each heist is basically a different thing, as we look at them, and there are some fine detail associated with them too. Also, in comparison to the earlier movie, Army of the Dead, this is a much light-hearted version, and there is also the presence of some nice humour here, suiting the heist genre. The safecracking is nice to watch in all cases, and there is a certain amount of humour and some information being added to each of them. It serves as a stepping stone to the next movie well, and has the origin story of one particular character, as we wait for the same with the others too. We know that how things turn around with the next movie!
Positives and negatives :: As this movie goes back from the zombies to humans, there is surely the feeling of relegation, even though it does its job as it was supposed to do. The film also lacks a power-packed hero like Dave Bautista who had held the previous movie on his gun point with the muscles. The female characters do hold on well enough though. This movie, even if shorter than the other film of the franchise, does feel longer, as this one does have some random time in the beginning, and also some romance to go with it, which means that there is a stretch, even though the interesting way of telling this story makes sure that we are past it. The visuals are also really good, with locations in three European countries – France, Czech Republic and Switzerland. The beauty of Europe does get the due, and the focus is not just on the big cities, but also nature, with the final moments having one grand truck journey through a beautiful world, which is to be remembered too. Well, a heist movie without zombie horror means that this is also for the less valiant.
The performers of the soul :: Matthias Schweighofer leads in the movie, even though he doesn’t do the same with team, taking time to get into it, and manages to come up with a fine job as he goes through the whole thing. He is also the director of this movie, and it seems that he has a lot to do in different fields. Yet, with the performance, it is Nathalie Emmanuel who steals the show, and it is very unlike her in the Fast and Furious as well as The Maze Runner series of movies, as this time, she plays the best character around here. It is also the one with the most skills, and the person who leads and decides things, a role which Dave Bautista did in Army of the Dead. Ruby O Fee who plays the other female member of the team doesn’t fall behind either, as she plays the hacker who does most of the background work for the team. Stuart Martin and Guz Khan are secondary in this team, even though they seem to take over in the beginning stages of the mission in the movie. Jonathan Cohen and Noemie Nakai do add nicely here too.
How it finishes :: Army of Thieves doesn’t have the strength as the earlier movie of the franchise, Army of the Dead had, for one particular reason – it doesn’t have the zombies, and is thus missing the horror elements, but still manages to be a very entertaining heist movie with quality action and humour being the necessary part of it. Some people might not like the fact that this is a prequel, and it doesn’t mention the zombies enough, but we know that dealing with thieves and their heists mean that there can only be a little bit of the monsters of Las Vegas. It does connect to the events of the second movie in the end nicely, and we can actually come out of this movie as having watched an entertainer which sticks to the plan. Well, we have had many films being marketed as big entertainers, and so many of them didn’t live up-to the expectation, or at times managed to overdo and mess up things. But, this one stays strong as the prequel that it was supposed to become, and joins the smart heist movies list in style.
Release date: 29th October 2021 (Netflix)
Running time: 127 minutes
Directed by: Matthias Schweighofer
Starring: Matthias Schweighofer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen, Noemie Nakai, Barbara Meier, Peter Hosking, Fanette Ronjat, Amy Huck, Peter Simonischek, Dave Bautista, Ana de la Reguera, Bly Tanaka
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@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.