King of Thieves

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I’ve been trying lately to avoid reading reviews or even sometimes seeing the trailers for new movies before I go and see them, mainly so that I’m not influenced too heavily when I’m writing my own reviews. For “King if Thieves”, I knew that it started Michael Caine, Jim Broadbent and a few other older English actors and that it involved a heist of some kind. I expected it to be a bit of fun, a good popcorn movie and an easy gig for the old fellas. Nothing overly ambitious but perfectly enjoyable. This was the worst movie I’ve seen in ages. As the running time crept towards two hours, I seriously considered leaving the cinema.

How could they have messed this up so badly?! It would have been such an easy movie to get right; use the model from the Oceans franchise, substitute some jokes in about bad hips and prostates and let the cast do the rest. Instead, King of Thieves was boring, irritating, lazy and I cringed watching the old blokes trying to do their best with some seriously stilted and contrived dialogue I’ve ever heard.

The premise for the film is based on a true story and actually a pretty exciting one; a group of retired burglars pull of a £300 million heist of a London jewellery store in 2015. The elements are all there: a jewel heist and a bunch of funny cockney old fellas, it should have just fallen into place. It didn’t.

Firstly, it is never explained how the old blokes knew each other or gave any indication of the robberies they had pulled of in the past. The characterisation of each of the members of the gang is so inconsistent and weak that by the end I was still unsure who was who. How this film has taken some of the strongest British actors and turned them into interchangeable and bland blobs is beyond me.

There’s no real reason or motivation behind the actual heist at all, nobody really takes any convincing and there’s never any sense of urgency or any real stakes behind the operation at all. So as audience member I didn’t care whether they succeed or not because it didn’t seem that they did either. Which would have been fine if the heist itself had been fun and engaging! It’s not. It’s actually somehow one of the dullest part of the whole film, and includes a five minute montage of bank security boxes being broken open with crowbars.

Michael Caine’s character, initially the leader, decides to back out half way through for literally no reason at all. Then all of a sudden the other old men are assholes for again, literally no reason at all. These poor bastards, I genuinely felt sorry for all of them for having to do this. There’s no thought or creativity in any of the dialogue, the screenwriter instead relying on funny accents and lots of swearing to score cheap laughs. I realise that some of this is probably giving away plot points, but this whole thing was such a crock that I’d rather say it now and spare at least one person the price of a ticket.

When the film finished, I was palpably angry. You just don’t take an actor with a legacy like Michael Caine and screw him over like this. The whole cast and the source material deserved far better.

By Jock Lehman

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