movie: THE THIEVES

Give me anything with Lee Jung-jae and I’d be a captive audience. So the mere fact that he’s in THE THIEVES, I’m in. Throw in Jun Ji-hyun, I’m sold.

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THE THIEVES is often billed as the Asian version of OCEAN’S ELEVEN. But really, it is a gross misrepresentation. It’s a Korean version with Hong Kong actors playing support. This promotion still says it all:

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Look at how Simon Yam (rightmost) and Derek Tsang (leftmost) are placed; you can even barely see Angelica Lee at the back (fourth from right).

Casting aside, it’s a very entertaining caper about a band of thieves who set out to steal the “Tear of the Sun” diamond in Macau. They each have their own expertise but it’s clearly MY SASSY GIRL Jun Ji-hyun who steals the show from the first minute when she sways into the screen posing as a sophisticated girlfriend of an art gallery owner (played by Shin Ha-kyun who is always good in deadpan roles).

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The film moves from Seoul to Hong Kong to Macau and finally, to Busan, where the final confrontation between cops and thieves, and thieves vs thieves happen. If for anything, the film shows there’s no honor among thieves, and Lee Jung-jae here is not the typical upright, lovable dude; neither is there a romantic angle between him and his IL MARE lover Jun Ji-hyun. And what’s with the mustache Mr Lee?

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In an ensemble movie like this, the parts contribute to the whole and the cast were all good. I especially enjoyed Oh Dal-su’s character, Andrew, the clown and punching bag of the group; and was confused with Derek Tsang, who I thought was Andy On. One thing that amused me was the disguise by Macao Park, played by Kim Yun-seok, that made him look like Amitabh Bachchan. Oh, and aside from Lee Jung-jae, Kim Soo-Hyun is here; he’s apparently one of the biggest TV stars last year due to THE MOON EMBRACING THE SUN.

But clearly, it was Jun Ji-hyun who owned the film, with her portrayal of Yenicall, the sexy, sassy girl who will not hesitate to use her female charm to trick people.

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THE THIEVES is perfect if you’re just looking for an entertaining action-comedy to end the day, or a perfect companion to a workout, which I did.

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