Following the success of the 'Taken' trilogy, Liam Neeson ('Men in Black: International', 'The Commuter') has found himself in a hole. Looking at the actor's filmography since 2008, there are way too many posters featuring him holding a gun and looking brooding. 'Honest Thief' is no exception, but where does fall in the 'Taken' knock-off pool?
After finding the woman of his dreams, Tom (Neeson) decides to come clean to the cops and reveal that he was the In-and-Out Bandit, an unknown robber who has stolen millions of dollars over the years. When two FBI agents, John (Jai Courtney, 'Suicide Squad', 'Storm Boy') and Ramon (Anthony Ramos, 'Hamilton', 'Trolls World Tour'), go to scope out his belongings, they find the money and decide to take it for themselves - but in doing so another agent dies, and Tom becomes the man wanted for his death.
'Honest Thief' is the perfect background movie. It has enough familiar faces to keep you checking in and an easy enough plot that, if you get distracted, doesn't take too long to catch up. It doesn't offer anything new to the action/crime genre, nor are the action moments terribly interesting.
The two agents are good cop/bad cop, with Courtney being the one to take the money and run, while Ramos is thinking more about his family, however that could have played into their dynamic more. As a fan of Ramos, I was excited to see him team up again with his now fiancé Jasmine Cephas Jones ('Hamilton', 'The Photograph'), but they only have one small scene together which definitely feels like an attempt to grab a wider audience, even though I don't why 'Honest Thief' bothered trying to appeal to the musical theatre nerds, as this really isn't their type of film.
It's the perfect background movie. It has enough familiar faces to keep you checking in and an easy enough plot that, if you get distracted, doesn't take too long to catch up.
Finally, since I am such a big fan of Ramos, it's nice to see him in a non-musical role and he did a really good job here; we even get a new, very out-of-place song from him in the credits.
The rest of the cast is fine. Neeson is Neeson, Courtney is Courtney, and they don't bring much more to it. Kate Walsh ('Sell By', Netflix's 'The Umbrella Academy') plays Neeson's girlfriend, and while closer in age than other women he has been paired with, it's still odd to see the two play love interests. Having said that Walsh, alongside Ramos, do seem to be the two bringing the most to the film - not that anyone is phoning it in.
'Honest Thief' has an engaging enough premise aided with a decent cast that is worth checking out, especially if you're dying just to see something new in cinemas - just don't expect to be blown away or fully invested in this one.