Honest Thief

[3 stars]

Liam Neeson (Cold Pursuit) is a genre unto himself at this point. Because of that, you know this genre and you know this plot. Which doesn’t make it unwatchable, but it isn’t the adrenaline rush of, say, the Taken movies. Director and co-writer Mark Williams (Ozark) tries to elevate the tale of corruption, love, and honor through the relationships. But, frankly, the most impressive part of the movie is how it makes the five main characters (and one minor) feel like a whole world.  I think maybe one other actor outside of these says any line at all over the 90 minutes.

Kate Walsh (Umbrella Academy) plays opposite Neeson, and does it with a backbone, which was appreciated as she’s the only woman in the movie. Jeffrey Donovan (Burn Notice) and Robert Patrick make a solid OG FBI team. Donovan, in particular, plays against type in some nice ways. And Anthony Ramos (Godzilla: King of Monsters) at least tries to infuse his (slightly insultingly) stock character with some depth. But Jai Courtney (Terminator: Genisys) is just a stock character with no depth and without even the depth of clever evil that makes him interesting to follow or to bring down. He’s just a frat-boy punk in a suit.

Basically, for a 90 minute distraction, it isn’t awful. For a movie, it’s marginal at best. Even for a Liam Neeson actioner, it’s marginal. As the actor ages, there is less and less he can do for those scenes. He’s slowly becoming like Edward Woodward’s The Equalizer. And there’s nothing really wrong with that, but this is a transition film between those extremes, and isn’t quite comfortable in either. On the up side, there is clever enough story to give some tired tropes a nice polish.

Honest Thief Poster

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