3 out of 5 stars
For all the Liam Neeson fans of the world, he is back to his robust action roots in Honest Thief. His latest action adventure introduces us to his new alter-ego, Tom Dolan, a retired Marine who had made a name for himself as an expert in explosives. A skill set that moved him from life in the military to one of crime as a bank robber dubbed ‘The In & Out Thief.’ Tom has successfully eluded the authorities for over a decade, until the day he meets a woman named Annie (Kate Walsh). Unwittingly, she manages to change his perspective on life and makes him decide that he is ready to settle down.
Even though Annie is unaware of Tom’s past, the safe-cracker decides that he must make amends for his criminal background. He hopes that his next decision gives him some peace of mind and will provide a fresh start with his new love. Instead of continuing to hide his illegal activity, the accomplished burglar contacts the FBI to hand himself in and return all the money he has stolen in return for a reduced sentence. Since no-one has ever been able to identify the ‘In & Out Thief,’ his case is turned over to a couple of junior grade FBI agents. As these two men investigate the validity of Tom’s claims, they succumb to temptation and decide to keep the money for themselves. A decision that means that they need to eliminate the only witness to these crimes and they must kill Tom. However, their plot falls apart when their superior officer interrupts them just as they are about to eliminate the thief.
While the two rogue agents hunt down the trained Marine and skilled thief, their investigation uncovers that there is more money hidden away. This new evidence changes their search from being one with murderous intentions to merely finding the man. Actions that eventually lead to Annie being dragged into the situation. For anyone who knows anything about Neeson films, it is never a good idea to go after the women he loves. Meaning that the remainder of the movie sees his character trying to protect the love of his life and to hold these corrupt agents to account. Two tasks that prove to be difficult since he must evade the authorities who are now aware of his criminal background.
As it is was stated at the outset, this is a Liam Neeson action film which means it comes with a formula that fans have come to love. Even with its predictable story arch, this is a journey that is not merely familiar, but it is still entertaining. As a beloved action hero, Neeson continues to flesh out his character enough to show us all the nuances of what drives and motivates him. The veteran actor continues to deliver on these roles that cut a fine line between the average man and those who can deliver a punch. Then to have him be a retired Marine with explosives training, that is a bonus.
What is most surprising aspect of this film is that the only character that manages to steal any scene from Neeson is a cute dog named Tazzie. Credited as the director’s dog, she is an attention-getter in every scene she appears in during the film. Her interactions with the cast will offer something to the world of dog-lovers and action movies. What Honest Thief may lack in originality, it makes up for by having Liam Neeson as the lead and providing a redemptive narrative for action fans to enjoy.
REEL DIALOGUE: The Path to Redemption
[Warning: the following contains spoilers about the movie]
Tom Dolan is asked by the FBI why he wants to turn himself in when he has effectively pulled off a series of perfect heists. As a bank robber, he has successfully netted over nine million dollars and has avoided being caught by law enforcement agencies for ten years. No small task in this camera-invested society, but he does manage to keep his identity as ‘The In & Out Thief’ a secret.
It is no wonder that the FBI is a little sceptical when Tom claims he is the man they have been trying to find for the past decade. Especially when his primary reason for turning himself in is credited to a relationship with a woman. One that he has fallen in love with and does not want his past to ruin their relationship. To carry that guilt and the fear of getting caught is not something he wants for their future together. Hence, he wants to set things right and restart his life anew by doing a deal where he hands back all the money in return for a reduced sentence. To some, his crimes may not be considered to be that serious, but in the end, he is a criminal in the eyes of the law and he must still atone for his actions.
You and I may not have robbed a bank, but this same truth applies to the decisions we make in our lives. Specifically, when it comes to our relationship with God. What we can understand from the Bible is that we are sinners who have broken God’s law and so we must atone if we want to come back into a right relationship with Him. By ourselves, this is impossible to achieve but thankfully God has given us a path to redemption through His son Jesus. His death on the cross atones for all our sin and we can enter into a new life with God if we turn to Jesus and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour.
1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.