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The Thieves

Director: Choi Dong-hun

Cast: Yun-seok Kim, Kim Hye-soo, Lee Jung-Jae


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Two bands of thieves team up to steal a priceless diamond from a casino known for its cutting edge security, and find their meticulously planned heist going to pot due to a series of unexpected complications. Opportunistic thief Popie (Lee Jung-jae) and his gang have just pulled of a big job in South Korea when they decide to get out of the country until the heat


Two bands of thieves team up to steal a priceless diamond from a casino known for its cutting edge security, and find their meticulously planned heist going to pot due to a series of unexpected complications. Opportunistic thief Popie (Lee Jung-jae) and his gang have just pulled of a big job in South Korea when they decide to get out of the country until the heat blows over. Never one to rest on his laurels, Popie has another caper planned in Macao that rests on his willingness to reteam with the slippery Macao Park (Kim Yun-seok), a former associate who once betrayed him. With wire specialists Yenicall (Jeon Ji-hyun) and Zampano (Kim Soo-hyun), skillful swindler Chewingum (Kim Hae-sook), and expert lock picker Pepsee (Kim Hye-soo) by his side, Popie puts his differences with Macao aside in hopes of swiping the raer yellow diamond known as the "Tear of the Sun." Meanwhile, Macao's team includes the crass Andrew (Oh Dal-soo), suave veteran thief Chen (Simon Yam), focused point man Jonny (Derek Tsang), and Julie (Lee Sinje) - who never met a safe she couldn't crack. But when the day of the heist arrives, the professionals who left nothing to chance find their perfect plan snowballing into disaster, and a cool $20 million payday about to slip though their fingers.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
For the past decade, Korean cinema has been impressing arthouse viewers with masterpieces like Memories of Murder, Oldboy, Poetry, and Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... and Spring; with The Thieves, the country has set its sights on creating the sort of breezy, big-budget entertainment for adults that Hollywood once perfected and now has mostly forgotten how to make. While its convoluted plot and 136-minute run time hold it back from true greatness, this is still a sharper, better-crafted popcorn flick than 90% of what the United States is churning out these days. After a job fleecing a wealthy art collector almost leads to their arrests, Popie (Lee Jung-Jae) and his team of con artists decide to flee Korea and take an even bigger assignment that involves joining up with another crew from Hong Kong. Together, their superteam of ten bandits plot to steal a $20 million diamond from a Macau casino, then sell it back to the man they took it from -- a mysterious crime boss known as Wei Hong. But unlike the gentlemen thieves of the Ocean's Eleven trilogy, all of the characters here have their own ulterior motives and zero long-term loyalty to the group. Alliances are formed to make off with the diamond, one crook turns out to be an undercover cop hunting Hong, and Popie and Macao Park (Yun-seok Kim), the mastermind of the robbery, still have a score to settle regarding a botched heist from several years back. Despite these complications, the first half of The Thieves is composed of the same scenes you'd expect to find in any star-studded caper flick: The team's beauty tries to seduce a security guard, the safecrackers debate the quickest way to break a lock, and the older members of the crew pose as a married couple to distract their mark. But then the casino heist occurs only halfway through the movie, and when it ends in total disaster, the film reshapes itself into something radically different. What at first seemed like just a competent genre exercise becomes a complex look at honor (or the lack thereof) among thieves. And the key word there is "complex." Let's put it this way: The Thieves is filled with 30-second flashbacks that change everything we think we know about the characters and the heist that caused a rift between Popie and Macao Park. It's a novel way of building suspense and keeping the audience interested for the first half of the story, but then the movie decides to push its luck and uses a flashback to reveal that one of the characters is actually using the caper as a means of revenge against Wei Hong. Worse, Hong and his henchmen don't even appear onscreen until the final shootout, when they suddenly become the film's real villains. In a movie with this many intriguing storylines and character conflicts, it feels like a waste to build the finale around a plot development that only gets introduced at the very end. On the other hand, that finale is one of the most insane action sequences in recent memory; in particular, it includes a jaw-dropping scene in which one of the thieves rappels across the side of an apartment building while he's being chased by machine-gun-toting gangsters. (If the producers of the Bond franchise are somehow reading this: Find out who the stunt coordinators for this were and hire them immediately.) Yet in spite of the fact that The Thieves is clearly taking place in a heightened reality (the bad guys sure do empty a lot of clips while hitting nothing but air), the scene manages to generate so much tension precisely because the filmmakers never make the mistake of portraying the characters as too smart or indestructible. They're always just one small step ahead of their pursuers, and the sprawling cast means it's possible to believe any of them could die at any moment. While the movie might leave you with a number of plots holes to debate on the ride home -- chief among them: it's unclear why anyone would sign up for this heist when the participants all have good reason to distrust each other -- it's still a terrific entertainment that moves like a bullet and never stops throwing surprises at you. Arguably the best heist flick since Ocean's Eleven, The Thieves is proof that the Asian film industry is starting to pick up Hollywood's slack -- and is beating the studios at their own game.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Well Go Usa
Region Code:

Special Features

Making of; Meet The Thieves; Trailer

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Yun-seok Kim Macao Park
Kim Hye-soo Pepsee
Lee Jung-Jae Popie
Gianna Jun Yenicall
Simon Yam Chen
Kim Hae-suk Chewingum
Oh Dal-su Andrew
Kim Soo-Hyun Zampano
Angelica Lee Julie
Derek Tsang Actor
Lee Sin-Je Actor
Shin Ha-kyun Actor

Technical Credits
Choi Dong-hun Director,Screenwriter
Cell Makeup Special Effects
Se-yeon Choi Costumes/Costume Designer
Lee Ha-jung Production Designer
You Jeong-Hun Executive Producer
Li Ki-cheol Screenwriter
Shin Min-Kyung Editor
Yoo Sang-Seob Choreography
Kim Seo-Young Makeup
Ahn Soo-Hyun Producer
Jang Young-Gyu Score Composer
Choi Young-Hwan Cinematographer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Thieves
1. Too Fast! Too Fast! [10:00]
2. She's the Real Deal [6:24]
3. Smells Like Booze [6:09]
4. You Wanna Die? [8:18]
5. ...Sticking to Your Guns [5:18]
6. I'm a Thief, So What? [6:05]
7. Stop Fooling Around [6:27]
8. She's Really Rich [6:26]
9. ...The Job is Bound to Fail [9:58]
10. Get Me More Chips [7:28]
11. This is a Trap [8:03]
12. Stop the Car! [6:35]
13. ...The Diamond is a Real Beauty [5:28]
14. Cops are Here! [5:06]
15. They Made Contact [5:46]
16. Send in the Sniper! [8:56]
17. I'm Tossing You My Life [8:05]
18. You're So Dead [7:17]
19. She Deserves to Drown [5:36]
20. End Credits [2:20]

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