It's Liam Neeson in yet another action/thriller movie, but writers always find some way to throw an interesting spin into the same song and dance with the same partner.
But does it work for "Honest Thief?"
Directed by "Ozark" co-creator Mark Williams, the film's plot it sounds like it would be a riveting addition to Neeson's extensive action repertoire, but cheap effects and tone-deaf follow-ups bring viewers out of the movie for a long hour-and-a-half commitment.
HONEST THIEF | Official Trailer | In Theatres October 16 www.youtube.com
Tom Carter (Liam Neeson) is called the In and Out Bandit by the media because he meticulously stole $9 million from small-town banks while managing to keep his identity a secret. One day he looks for a place where he can store the stolen cash and meets the flirtatious Annie (Kate Walsh) at a storage office, and his world changes in an instant. Fast-forward a year later, and he's in a serious relationship with Annie and he doesn't rob banks anymore.
He wants to come clean and turn himself in to the FBI. But when two agents (Jai Courtney and Anthony Ramos) discover how honest he is, they go rogue and attempt to take the money for themselves, endangering Tom, Annie and other innocent lives.
"Honest Thief" truly has something going for it in the beginning. When viewers find out why he robs banks, it's a decent backstory that can make you understand Tom, an extremely complex character. But the story never seems to address that drive ever again. And sometimes, it doesn't match up with some of his actions.
For a careful thief, his thirst for revenge against the corrupt FBI agents feels inconsistent: sloppy in one scene and clever in the next. And that's not the only time things felt out of place.
Kate Walsh's Annie is the classic damsel in distress. She is crucial in helping Tom with one physical thing and his motivation, but when she should've been seeing red flags for Tom's assailants, she cluelessly texts him a playful text about a house they looked at together. But then again, this character feels out of place because Walsh typically plays extremely smart characters like Addison Montgomery in "Grey's Anatomy" or The Handler in "The Umbrella Academy." And she does the best with what she has.
For an action movie to be successful the acting and the special effects need to be engaging. For "Honest Thief," it's hard to overlook how fake the flames appear. There's one scene in particular in which he blows up a house. It's a good scene, but those flames ruined the mood.
With all that being said, the true heart of the film is with Neeson. Somehow, he makes it hard to completely hate the film.
But let's be honest. If you love Liam Neeson in these kinds of roles, you're going to love it. And that's OK. Until those CGI flames burn through your enthusiasm.
Honest Thief" is in theaters starting Friday, October 16.
Follow Samantha Incorvaia on Twitter at @s_incorvaia