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Honest Thief

5/10

Stars: Liam Neeson, Kate Walsh, Jai Courtney, Jeffrey Donovan, Anthony Ramos, Robert Patrick, Devon Diep

Director: Mark Williams

If you leave your brain at home and concentrate on the acting and action, you'll find this an acceptable thriller. Best not to dwell on the stale dialogue and unlikely scenario and say that Neeson marks his return to action films here by playing Tom Carter, a bank robber - the 'in-and-out bandit' - who, for reasons best left unexplained, decides to give himself up, together with the $9 million he's stolen from eight banks, in return for a light sentence and more time with Annie (Walsh), the woman he's fallen in love with and gone straight for.

Well, he's an optimist if nothing else. But then he's never spent a cent of his ill-gotten gains, as he did it just for the thrill, so it's all ready for return.

He has trouble convincing the police (Donovan, Patrick) that he's their guy, but two more cops (Courtney, Ramos) do eventually show up on his doorstep, and demand the key to his lock-up where he says the money is stashed. Natch, they decide to keep the money and return to dispatch Tom, who tells them they've only seen a third of the loot.

Now you would think they might be happy with 3 mill, but no. At this moment, however, Patrick bursts in and a compromised Courtney shoots him dead. After a hand-to-hand battle with the crooked cops, Tom goes on the run. In fact they could have called this Get Carter, except that his name turns out to be not Carter but Dolan: do keep up.

Anyway, the bent cops trace Annie, who has foolishly disobeyed Tom and gone back to her office, and leave her for dead; learning that she's only in hospital, they plan to finish the job. Now Tom is really mad.

There's a nice little twist towards the end concerning Tom's skill with bombs (a job he did in Iraq), but otherwise, this is chock-full of familiar elements with not an original line of dialogue in its head.

Best performance, though, comes from Donovan, as a sympathetic cop who carries his dog around with him (his share of a divorce settlement). Just a look at his facial expressions will tell you that is a guy who knows what subtle acting is all about.

David Quinlan

USA 2020. UK Distributor: Signature. Colour by Company 3.
99 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 17 Oct 2020