At 68 years old, Liam Neeson is one lucky bugger to still draw audiences as an “action hero”. Despite his [gracefully] advancing years, he still manages to pull it off with a certain silver style – be it thanks to a great personal trainer, creative editing or a rash of stunt doubles (probably all of the above!)
After stating publicly that COLD PURSUIT (2019) would be his last action flick, Neeson goes back on his word to give us the action-thriller HONEST THIEF. It’s a somewhat familiar tale of a con (Neeson) who bids farewell to his life of crime upon meeting that special lady (Kate Walsh). After attempting to turn himself in for a reduced sentence, he encounters crooked young agents who steal the money he stole and attempt to frame him for the murder of a senior agent who sniffs something suspicious afoot. You know what you’re getting with a Liam Neeson action flick; the likes of THE GREY (2011) and TAKEN (2008) are rare. If you’re cool with that, HONEST THIEF delivers.
After a slick opening montage, HONEST THIEF is a little slow and clunky in its exposition. This is perhaps owing to HONEST THIEF being only the second directorial outing for director Mark Williams – or perhaps it’s due to both writers (Williams and Steve Allrich) having skinny CVs in the screenplay department. Whatever the reason, it takes a moment to rev its engine: The ‘kismet’ moment between Neeson and Walsh feels staged and doesn’t quite have the sweet impact it tries hard to achieve, and the introduction to our hero agent (Jeffrey Donovan) paints him as rather unlikeable (the guy took his ex-wife’s beloved dog as part of his divorce revenge settlement; bad form, dude!) so it takes a moment for the audience to warm to / trust him.
However, despite its clunky start, the film soon picks up pace and sweeps you off on an enjoyable ride. There’s a few nice car chases, shoot outs and some cool stunts; all the fun popcorn fodder you’d expect in an action flick. The “goodies” are likeable, the “baddies” are annoying – exactly what you want in a no-thinking-required Friday night flick.
Does HONEST THIEF reach the heights of TAKEN or THE GREY? No. Will it warrant repeated viewings? Nope. But, as the hubby said when the credits rolled, “it’s better than the other cr*p Liam’s been in lately”. I couldn’t say it better myself. Put my hubby down for a writing credit, cos he’s summed up the flick better than I have.
You know what you’re getting with a Liam Neeson action flick. If you’re cool with the shortfalls presented by a bloke pushing 70 kicking arse, then HONEST THIEF delivers. HONEST THIEF is a fun action flick that is worth sitting back to watch for a bit of light, enjoyable entertainment.
I rate it 6.5 stars.