‘Army of Thieves’ movie review: Netflix prequel makes for a goofy and fun heist drama

Director-actor Schweighöfer injects a great deal of verve, charm and romance into this spin-off of Zack Snyder’s ‘Army of the Dead’

Set sometime before the events of Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead, Army of Thieves while lacking in the crucial Z factor, is goofy and fun nevertheless. While zombies are roaring and rampaging in Las Vegas — eating up intrepid television reporters on the way, Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert (Matthias Schweighöfer) is a teller at a bank in Potsdam, Germany.

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His only break from his boring life is posting his safecracking videos on YouTube, which have no views until he has one and a mysterious message. Sebastian is invited to safecracking tournament, which he wins and is then recruited by a beautiful jewel thief (they are always good-looking) Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel).

Gwendoline offers Sebastian a way out of his humdrum life by conquering the Mount Everest of safecracking — the three safes created by Hans Wagner (Christian Steyer). The locksmith actually created four safes named after his musical namesake’s famous Ring cycle operas – The Rhinegold, The Valkyrie, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. The last safe has vanished off the face of the earth. What are the possibilities that it would surface in a certain casino vault in zombie-infested Las Vegas, considering the safes belong to billionaire Bly Tanaka (Hiroyuki Sanada)?

Army of Thieves

  • Director: Matthias Schweighöfer
  • Cast: Matthias Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Ruby O. Fee, Stuart Martin, Guz Khan, Jonathan Cohen, Christian Steyer
  • Storyline: An origin story for the safecracker in the ‘Army of the Dead’ universe
  • Duration: 127 minutes

Sebastian meets the rest of the crew, which includes hacker Korina (Ruby O. Fee), getaway driver Rolph (Guz Khan) and muscle Brad Cage (Stuart Martin). The three safes are in banks in Paris, Prague and St. Moritz. As always, there is a deadline and the crew have to hit the safes in three days as they are going to be decommissioned after that. The famous five are doggedly pursued by an obsessed Interpol agent, Delacroix (Jonathan Cohen).

The music of Army of Thieves reflects its Snyder pedigree; he has written the story and is one of the producers. Hans Zimmer has created a peppy opera-infused score that has Wagner trending — Inspector Morse will surely be pleased. While the movie offers nothing new in the heist genre, and requires prior knowledge of Army of the Dead, director-actor Schweighöfer injects a great deal of verve, charm and romance into the film.

Army of Thieves is currently streaming on Netflix


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