Run Time: 2 hour and 7 minutes
Genre: Action, Comedy, Crime
Army of Thieves is the prequel story of Army of the Dead, and the backstory of the safecracker, Ludwig Dieter. Before finding his way into America, Dieter, then named Sebastian, worked as a bank teller, and filmed YouTube videos on safecracking. His most passionate project was on Hans Wagner and his expertly crafted safes. When given the opportunity to join a team to crack 3 of the 4 existing safes in the series, Sebastian accepts with open arms and begins a new adventure.
Sebastian, or Ludwig Dieter as he is known in the other movie, is the resident safecracker, who is able to crack any safe imaginable. Gwendoline comes from a rich family, but after ditching them, she turns to a life of thievery. Korina is the hacker of the group. She is able to break down any firewall and hijack any kind of electronics. Brad Cage is the jock of the group. He’s on the frontlines if anything goes south. Finally, Rolph is the getaway driver who is great at drifting.
After watching Army of the Dead, I didn’t know if I was sold on the idea of watching a prequel movie that was all about heists. Army of Thieves had an interesting concept, and after watching this movie, I can safely say that I enjoyed this movie much more than the first movie.
When it comes to the negatives for the movie, I only really have one. There’s one side character by the name of Delacroix, who is an Interpol officer and is the main officer trying to stop our protagonists. My only issue with this character was that we never really got to learn about him. There was very little time to learn his backstory and I feel like if we learned more, than it would have elevated the conflict between the two sides.
Now, the main reason I enjoyed Army of Thieves more was the characters. Unlike Army of the Dead, the characters in Army of Thieves were actually enjoyable. The cast was well rounded and I enjoyed watching each individual character throughout this story. I also enjoyed learning more about Dieter, or Sebastian, in this movie. He was one of the more interesting characters in the fist movie, but learning more about here made me love his character more, but also feel more sad about his fate in the first movie. I love how this movie pretty much leads up to the first movie, which became like the climax to his story. Contrary to the first movie, I also enjoyed the pacing in this movie. Even though it was shorter by half an hour, the movie always had my attention and there weren’t many dull moments. It was a fun ride to say the least.
Overall, Army of Thieves was a very fun movie to watch. If you enjoyed Dieter in Army of the Dead, then you will for sure enjoy this one. Even if you haven’t seen the first movie, I would recommend watching if you enjoy heist movies.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers):
My favourite moment in Army of Thieves was when Sebastian cracked the second safe, The Valkyrie. The way he struggled through this ordeal and the confidence it gave him was fun to watch. It was also paired nicely with the failed heist, which is always a plus.
Army of Thieves is a direct prequel to Army of the Dead, and although they probably fit together better if watched in release order, I think you could watch them chronologically and survive. I really enjoyed the fact that Army of Thieves doesn’t need Army of the Dead to make sense. You could watch this as a one-off film and be content. You might not love the ending due to the lead into Army of the Dead, but you would survive. The characters are awesome, I thought the story was good, and the minor hints back to Army of the Dead were really well done.
My only strife with this movie is that it feels a little bit too easy. This might venture into spoiler land just a little bit, so that’s your only warning. The way the heists occur feels too simplistic, and really too easy. Everything else about the movie follows the complicated, overly planned, very detailed pattern. When it is time to rob the banks or crack the safes, everything just falls into place. I felt it was missing the “oh no” moment, the complication that makes every ticking clock type of movie so captivating. Other than that I loved this movie, but things just seemed a little too perfect for our protagonist.
Our protagonist is the highlight of this movie. Sebastian is a hilarious, nervous young man who hates his job and loves safes. His timid, scrawny frame make him a really easy character to root for. You just want him to succeed. In the same breath, we watch him gain confidence and knowledge as the movie progress, and the things that truly matter to Sebastian start to show. Although he starts a little bit one-dimensional, we watch him bloom into a rounded character with fears and goals. By the end of the movie, the Sebastian we see in Army of the Dead comes out. The character development from movie to movie was really well done, and although they won’t get much media attention I thought Rolph and Korina were really good supporting characters. The limited screen time worked well for their characters, and it allowed me to enjoy the comedy they brought to the movie without thinking about where they fit in or how they don’t really have much backstory.
Army of Thieves is a lot better than Army of the Dead, although it is interesting to see two movies in a series in such different genres. For anyone like me who wasn’t quite sure what this movie was going to be like coming off of Army of the Dead, I can say with confidence it is worth the watch.
The best part of this movie has to be Sebastian meeting the group and hearing the plan for breaking into the safes. Watching him realize the internal heist team is 4 people, 3 of which he doesn’t know or find all that impressive is hilarious and it kicks off some great character interactions.
Army of Thieves was an entertaining film that really fit well into the heist genre of films. I honestly was not looking forward to this film much due to the fact that Army of the Dead which was the movie that this was spun off from was quite unmemorable. Though I gave that original film a good review I haven’t thought about it since so this was not hot on my to watch list. However, comparing the two I would say that I much preferred this film over Army of the Dead and I think a big part of that is I really like heist films. This being in that genre did pique my interest more than a zombie film and you could honestly watch this without seeing Army of the Dead which was good because it allows people who haven’t seen that film to still watch this. The highlight of the heists were the safes and the history behind them as well as watching Sebastian crack the safes with his intricacies and his insights into the safes. Sebastian was the other highlight as he wasn’t really a criminal or anything he just was passionate about safes and wanted to use his skills in someway and Matthias Schweighofer did a great job portraying his passions and his awkwardness. The group dynamic during the heists was fun as well with each character having their trait that makes them unique. My problems with the film is that the heists felt a little too simple and easy which takes the fun out of the heists because you know they will go off without a hitch. My other problem is that like the other film in this franchise I don’t think I will want to rewatch this film and while films that you watch once can be good or quite good a great film is one you can come back to and see something new in the film or appreciate something else about it each time.
All in all, this was a fun heist film with an excellent protagonist that was a good time and is a film I would definitely recommend.
Favourite Moment (Spoilers): When Sebastian cracks the safe on the first heist because it just helped him gain so much confidence and his excitement was fun to watch.