Army of Thieves: Film Review

Netflix

If you liked the kooky German safecracker Ludwig Dieter in Army of the Dead earlier this year then you’ll love this prequel, Army of Thieves.

Set six years before the events of Army of the Dead, this film serves as an origin story for Ludwig (Matthias Schweighofer) and show us who he was before he became the famous go-to safecracker Ludwig Dieter. The story follows Ludwig – then known as Sebastian, a small-town bank teller with a YouTube channel about his safecracking knowledge – as he is approached by career thief Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) and recruited to join her team of Interpol’s most wanted criminals and attempt to heist a series of Hans Wagner’s legendary, impossible-to-crack safes across Europe.

If you think this is going to be anything like Zack Snyder‘s zombie action movie then you’ll be very mistaken – this is a totally different film with a whole new vibe – it’s nowhere near as serious and much more light-hearted and fun. It’s a heist comedy with a romantic comedy subplot. With the exception of Ludwig being in both films, you wouldn’t really know that they’re even connected until the end, although there are some TV reports about the beginning of the zombie outbreak and similar onscreen graphics, while Snyder remains involved as a producer and with a story credit. So rest assured that if you haven’t seen Army of the Dead, you can still easily understand and enjoy Army of Thieves, directed by its leading man.

The heist attempts and watching Sebastian tackling complex safes are very entertaining, although it was never particularly nail-biting because I had no doubt that he would succeed. The film doesn’t always get the tone quite right or successfully balance the action, comedy and romance but it’s an amusing watch that made me laugh out loud a couple of times. The romance side didn’t really work for me though and I would have happily gone without that.

Sebastian/Ludwig was my standout character in Army of the Dead because he had a sense of humour and was a breath of fresh air among the serious action types and that is still the case here, although the character’s a bit more annoying in a bigger dose! He is really funny though and I loved his girly screams.

Emmanuel brings her Fast & Furious action skills to the table as the kickass Gwendoline but I didn’t buy any sort of romantic chemistry between her and Sebastian. I would have preferred them to remain as unlikely best buds. Their rag-tag crew is completed with Ruby O. Fee as the hacker Korina, I loved her sassy attitude and line delivery, Guz Khan as getaway driver Rolph, who doesn’t really do much, and Stuart Martin as the obnoxious American muscle man Brad Cage.

I probably enjoyed Army of Thieves as a whole more than Army of the Dead as it is fun, entertaining, and doesn’t take itself too seriously, plus I had more screentime with my favourite character from the franchise.

Streaming on Netflix from Friday 29th October

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

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