“Honest Thief” is a movie that knows it is generic. Rather than embrace it like most movies of its kind, however, it takes it as a challenge to rise above, and for the most part, actually succeeds.
Rather than becoming just another action movie, it takes its time, dives into its characters, and actually gives a complete and competent story.
At less than two hours, “Honest Thief” manages to never go too fast or too slow. Instead, it is able to find the right balance of intense, fast paced action sets and slower, cool-down scenes. The action itself is relatively sparse, with what is there being confined to mostly realistic, if slightly convenient, proportions.
The real heart of the story is the characters. The all star cast works with what they have to give their characters actual personality, and for the most part, they succeed. When both good guys and bad guys are placed in tight situations and do not come out on top, you actually feel it, rather than waiting for the next shootout.
The only person who gets short changed is Jai Courtney’s character. As the primary villain, there is less focus on him as a person and more on how his actions affect everyone else. This results in him quickly becoming someone you want to see get his comeuppance with no redeeming qualities.
The movie paints feds in a bad light, as they are shown as both incompetent and corrupt. If anything, it makes that case that if you have gotten away with your crimes, it is best to just remain hidden and not turn yourself in. At the very least, it shows why you should hire a lawyer instead of simply turning yourself in.
“Honest Thief” also inverts many ageist tropes. The young, handsome people are cowardly, weak and corrupt, while the older characters are honest, brave and selfless. This is the opposite of many movies of its kind, where the older people are likely the corrupt villains and the younger people must stop them.
The only real weakness of the movie is that, while above generic, it is not truly special. This movie lacked in originality. Instead, it plays with predetermined ideas of what to expect, but does not surpass them.
Overall, it is a movie I would recommend seeing. As a movie with actual heart, a good cast and keeping the action constrained in place of character depth, it should be able to please anyone who is looking to get away for a couple of hours. On top of that, the theater itself is sparsely attended with many people still not comfortable going to the movies, likely compounded by a lack of options at the moment, resulting in small audiences, quick service and a nice, pleasant experience.