Movie Review – Army of Thieves (2021)

Safes! Cracking! Germans!

BQB here with a review of a prequel to a zombie movie that’s very light on zombies and high on…a safecracking German?

There are no words to describe how utterly awful Army of the Dead was. I get that the zombie genre is oversaturated, but even in a sea of overdone zombie flicks, directors manage to piece it all together with at least a semi-coherent tale. Snyder’s flick, on the other hand, was just full of loose strings, begging the viewer to pull and pull only to find more strings.

Hey, watch out for that pile of dried up zombies! When it rains, they’ll come back to life! Then you wait and wait and it never rains and the pile of dried zombies never gets a rain revival. The guy who touts his awesome hand-held saw but then never uses the saw. The robot zombies that are never explained. Low depth characters with a reason to join the expedition into a zombie filled Vegas who never fulfill their purpose. Awful. Just awful. Frankly, if Netflix had any integrity, they’d remove this film from the site and give subscribers a free month by way of an apology, because it really is that bad. I could poop on it forever.

Surprisingly though, the prequel, about what Dieter (Mathias Schweighofer) did before he became the plucky German safecracker who travels with a team of zombie fighters to pull of a heist, is fantastic.

Here, Dieter is Sebastian (the reason for the name change to be revealed), a depressed bank teller who just goes through his boring days, having caved in to a life of unfulfilled mediocrity. Ah, but thanks to a YouTube video he posts about his safecracking hobby, the lovely Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) comes into his life and whisks him away into a life of international thievery, bent on cracking their way through a series of seemingly impenetrable safes constructed by a master safe-smith. The thrill isn’t necessarily in the money (though plenty is involved) its in the challenge of cracking the uncrackable.

Mathias (I don’t feel like writing his hard to spell last name again) is a delight as an excitable, nervous stranger to the criminal underworld. Nathalie, who I have had a secret crush on since her Game of Thrones days is fabulous and finally steps out in a leading lady role. Bonus points for a fun running joke where she changes her hairstyle with almost literally every location change leaves audiences wondering how she has time to get to the salon while she’s heisting.

Double bonus points for another running joke where characters punch someone only to seethe with pain at the resulting hand injury. Movies really do make it look like punching someone is easy where in fact, punching any hard surface, be it a wall or a face, is painful. BTW shooting guns is also very loud, so loud it can cause ear damage and they also heat up and get too hot to hold after multiple fires but we’ll wait for another movie to do that running joke.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy. Very strange that such a shitty movie could spawn such a fun movie but stranger things have happened.

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