Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Netflix Picks: Army of Thieves

After watching the movie Army of the Dead, I wasn’t sure if I was up to watch the prequel movie titled Army of Thieves. Thankfully, I learned that there were no zombies in the movie (although they were mentioned) so I decided that it was something I could risk watching to see if it was good or not.

The movie is directed by Matthias Schweighöfer, who plays safecracker Ludwig Dieter (known here as Sebastian with the last name that is hard to pronounce and spell, honestly), the character that ties the two movies together. In this movie, he is recruited by a thief named Gwendoline (played by Nathalie Emmanuel) into a group of thieves that is targeting the three safes made by legendary locksmith Hans Wagner. Sebastian is first given a test by joining a secret safecracking competition (which was ridiculous, but given that it was a comedy, I’m buying it), which he wins without much effort.

The team then goes on their first heist, which they do successfully. Side note: I kept half-expecting a whole Fast and the Furious thing to happen because Nathalie Emmanuel was there. It wasn’t that fast-paced or exciting but it was entertaining nevertheless. If there was more about the role of the rest of the team during the heist (because they really did not feature much), that would have made it more interesting.

By the second heist, there is a rift with the team due to jealousy from Brad, who happens to be the ex of Gwendoline. He ends up leaving Sebastian during their getaway, which causes the team to split in two. 

By the third heist, not only are there two teams going for the safe but there is also a team of Interpol officers who are standing by to catch them. I know that the actors playing the Interpol officers were supposed to be funny in their scenes, but for some reason, I just did not find them funny. They tried though, I’d give them that. Truth be told, I thought most of the actors were trying hard to be funny, but I couldn’t quite get with it. I know that Brad’s character was some sort of parody action hero-type and in concept that is funny but the actor for me just did not do that for me. 

The one who really carried this film was Schweighöfer as Sebastian. His role as an ordinary (nerdy) bank teller who became part of an international heist team was so good. He was funny, eccentric, entertaining, and lovable at the same time. I felt bad knowing that even when he got away in the end that he was going to die later on in the Army of the Dead. I kept thinking, “will his team ever know that he died: That he managed to open the Götterdämmerung?” It’s sad. Especially since I was more entertained by this movie than Army of the Dead. There won’t be any sequels to this one. Plus, Sebastian is dead so even if they did have a sequel I don’t know if it would be as entertaining. 

Another thing that I loved about this movie was the story about the safes and how it was related to Norse mythology. The nerd in me was all in on that part of the story, even if it was fictional. As someone who loves solving puzzles the fact that each safe could be cracked by knowing Norse mythology, specifically Richard Wagner’s opera The Ring of the Nibelung which was based on it, the whole safe-cracking concept was something I wish there was more of in the movie. 

It’s too bad that this would most likely not get a sequel, and I don’t see any more prequels or spin-offs that can happen without the main character. I really liked this movie, I felt that it had the potential to be more if given the chance. Plus, I felt that there was more to the story of the safes since Bly Tanaka from Army of the Dead apparently owns all of them – a connection that I felt was not explored properly.  

If you like heist films, you might want to check this one out. It’s a good prequel to Army of the Dead (and I liked it better too).


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