If you liked Oceans Eleven, you’re going to love The Thieves. Choi Dong-Hoon‘s 2012 action flick has all the excitement of the Hollywood franchise’s films but with more culture, sass and tenacity.

The Thieves follows 10 criminals with fantastic pseudonyms and a common goal – stealing a $20 million diamond known as the ‘Tear of the Sun’ from the ruthless criminal Wei Yong, who keeps it under heavy guard in a casino in Macau. Together the thieves – half of them Korean, half from Hong Kong – have all the skills necessary to crack through Wei Yong’s security measures and dupe the guards, but past issues make things interesting. Competing heist bosses Popie and Macao Park are both in love with safe-cracker Pepsee, wire technician Zampano has his eye on Yenicall, the woman on the end of his wire, and each and every member of their team, from the elderly con artist to the undercover cop, has their own motivation for being the one to find the diamond – and escape with it before the rest of the team finds out.

With an all-star cast featuring Kim Yun-Seok, Kim Hye-Soo, Lee Jung-Jae, Jeon Ji-Hyun, Oh Dal-Su and Kim Soo-Hyun, The Thieves keeps the audience on its toes with wonderfully executed action sequences and fast-paced dialogue – in a myriad of languages. The film takes place largely in Korean but Mandarin, Cantonese, Japanese and English all feature as well. The opening sequence is a lot of fun – what seems like a typical k-drama scene where a disapproving rich mother meets her daughter’s suitor for the first time turns out to be a heist with all the bells and whistles – wire work, safe cracking and skilful diversions. Jeon Ji-Hyun was particularly excellent as Yenicall, the gorgeous and nimble seductress with a quick wit and incredible comedic timing.

The Thieves was a lot of fun and a perfect finale for Brisbane KOFFIA 2013. With its elements of comedy, action and romance, it is definitely a film with something for everyone.

Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)

Running Time: 135 minutes (w/English Subtitles)

This was originally reviewed as part of KOFFIA 2013.