Familiarity is the enemy of Honest Thief. It’s just like you’ve seen this film before. Did the writers steal the plot honestly? Yet, there’s just something about Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, and Jeffrey Donovan that keeps you coming back for more. Their likability quotient is so high that we enjoy Neeson’s “certain set of skills” (Taken, Cold Pursuit) over and over, as well as the extended TV series of both Walsh (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice) and Donovan (Burn Notice). At age 68, Neesom has no chemistry with the 53 year old Walsh, but for some reason, we don’t care.
Unable to determine the budget for Honest Thief, I note it’s made $29 million since October 16, 2020. Given the pandemic, that seems pretty good, again a tribute to Neeson, et al. Filmed in Worcester, Massachusetts, it doesn’t have the feel of a big budget movie, sort of a poor man’s The Commuter. All in all, Honest Thief is one where you just sit back and take in the customary. After watching the trailer, not much will surprise. Still, like comfort food, I give Honest Thief 3.5 Gavels. While the critics use their minds with a 40% Rotten Tomatoes rating, the Audience uses their hearts with an 87% score.
Tom Dolan steals $9 million from 12 banks in seven states over eight years. He’s know as the In-and-Out Bandit, a name he detests. By chance, he finds true love with Annie Wilkens. To make a life with her without a lie, he calls the FBI to confess. Since he is the fifteenth to so offer, he is not a priority. Only a show of the money will deem him believable. That much money tempts corrupt agents, and soon Tom is on the run for murder. Will he ever be able to prove his innocence?
Did you know that the Irish Times ranks Liam Neesom (Tom Dolan) as number seven on the list of Ireland’s greatest actors? Or, that Kate Walsh made $250,000 to $275,000 per episode for Private Practice? Maybe you knew that Jeffrey Donovan (FBI agent Sean Meyers) earned a black belt in karate. Another well known actor, Robert Patrick (Perry Mason), has a small role as Meyer’s partner.
In the marines, Tom Dolan disarmed land mines. So, why rob banks after discharge? Among other reasons, it made him feel alive. Why stop? The love for Annie does the same. As he is repeatedly told, “she must be some woman.” Sad to say, the writing gets no better.
Film Frenzy is no fan printing “that dopey title suggests not so much a Liam Neeson actioner as much as a parody of a Liam Neeson actioner, perhaps to be followed by Kindly Assassin or Benevolent Torturer. But it’s actually the genuine article.” The Wrap thinks “as ‘solidly senior Liam Neeson kicks ass’ vehicles go, Honest Thief falls firmly in the middle, nowhere near the heights of Taken but well above the depths of Taken 3.” In the end, this is the kind of film you would see in theaters in January, no better, no worse.