Review: Army Of Thieves Is A Fun Little Heist Film With An Adorable Lead
When we heard that Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead is getting a franchise deal with multiple spin-offs, excitement was high. The zombie movie definitely added a bit more to the already done-to-death genre, with Snyder’s own action sensibilities included. After the film’s success, my focus today is on the review of Army Of Thieves. The spin-off centers around one of the more likable characters in Army Of The Dead, and acts as a prequel to that film. It’s almost like the origin story of that character, one that takes a cute-sy and slick approach. Read on for my spoiler-free Army Of Thieves review.
Netflix’s Prequel Spin-Off Of Army Of The Dead
Image via Netflix.
Army Of Thieves is set in the same universe as Zack Snyder’s Army Of The Dead. Snyder’s original was all about a brand new zombie apocalypse taking place in the modern world. The movie added to the zombie genre by giving the zombies a hierarchy and sense of society themselves. Add to that a pretty large ensemble cast led by Dave Bautista, and the movie was really something. It was one of Netflix’s biggest hits of this year, and further cemented the plans for a massive Army Of The Dead franchise with its own spinoffs and an upcoming anime series.
And in that sense, Army Of Thieves totally succeeds as being a movie set in that universe. It also works as a standalone heist film set during the beginnings of a Zombie Apocalypse. Given that it’s happening mostly in Europe, the movie can keep itself away from the complications of the outbreak happening in America. While also focusing on its own bank robbery storyline, and allowing the characters introduced to establish themselves.
The Army Of The Thieves Review Is Totally Spoiler-Free
Image via Netflix.
As we already knew, Army Of Thieves focuses on Army Of The Dead’s Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighofer). The story is a prequel to the events of Army Of The Dead and follows Ludwig’s journey that leads him directly into that movie. As a prequel, the story works wonderfully and Schweighofer carries the whole thing on his own pretty well. It’s the whole bumbling hero who always luckily stumbles into the right thing type of trope that Army Of Thieves relies on. And for the most part, it works.
The meek and mousey hero thing was huge in movies like Get Smart and The Naked Gun. And while the Idiot Hero trope isn’t exactly accurate in Army Of Thieves, it’s definitely a variation of it. Matthias plays the main character, an idealistic young man passionate about safe cracking (I know), who gets roped in with a bad influence that changes his life. For better or worse is up for debate.
Army Of Thieves Is A Cute Heist Film
Image via Netflix.
Army Of Thieves isn’t entirely perfect. There are some plot holes near the end, and for a heist movie, the second act feels very truncated and oddly simple. The slick and cool vibe of your typical Ocean’s Eleven type of adventure feels lacking. Some of the subplots don’t really work out, and we spend a bit of time on the other characters’ development that doesn’t end up going anywhere. But as I review Army Of Thieves, it’s hard not to about the totally dreamy Schweighofer. And no, not in that way! Well, maybe a little.
Ludwig is an extremely sweet and adorable character. He’s totally likeable and charming and his innocence as he joins a bunch of criminals to rob some banks is instantly endearing. The character is passionate about a safe-maker who made some beautiful safes that he dreams of breaking into. His opportunity comes as Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) appears to offer him a chance to break into those very same safes.
Tired of his boring life, and wanting adventure, Ludwig instantly agrees, not knowing entirely what he’s getting himself into. That over-his-head concept plays beautifully for the rest of the movie as he constantly is, in too deep. Most of the humour also comes from here, as Ludwig constantly tries to man up and be the brave and conventional hero that he thinks he should be. With hilarious results. Army Of Thieves honestly works simply because of Schweighofer and his charm. Not to mention that it’s a quick and easy watch that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Army Of Thieves premieres on Netflix on October 29.
What did you think of Army Of Thieves and why did you love Schweighofer in it? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured image via Netflix.
Shah Shahid is an entertainment writer, movie critic (so he thinks), host of the Split Screen Podcast (on Apple Podcasts & everywhere else) and filmy father on a mission to educate his girls on decades of film history. Armed with uncontrollable sarcasm and cautious optimism, Shah loves discussing film, television and comic book content until his wife’s eyes glaze over. So save her by engaging him on his own blog at BlankPageBeatdown.com or on Twitter @theshahshahid.