The Thieves


The Thieves

[aka: 도둑들 Dodookdeul (Thieves)]

Written by Choi Dong Hoon & Lee Ki Cheol

Photography by Choi Yeong Hwan

Edited by Shin Min Kyung

Visual Effects by Ko Eun Koni Jung

Music by Jang Young-gyu

Produced by Ahn Soo Hyun

Directed by Choi Dong Hun

South Korea theatrical release: July 2012




Gianna Jun

Kim Hae Suk

Kim Hye Su

Kim Soo Hyun

Kim Yun Seok

Angelica Lee

Lee Jung Jae

Simon Yam

Oh Dal Su

Derek Tsang


Production Studio:

Theatrical: Caper Film  

Video: Well Go



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Codec: AVC

Disc Size: BD-50

Feature: 33.63 GB

Bit Rate: Moderate (22~28 Mbps)

Runtime: 136 minutes

Chapters: 19

Region: All



Korean DTS-HD MA 5.1



Optional English & Korean


Bonus Features:

• Meet The Thieves - in 1080i (4:35))

• The Making of The Thieves - in 1080i (5:50)

• Well Go Trailers



Standard US Blu-ray case : BRD

Street Date: February 12, 2013

Overview: [Wikipedia]

Splashy action in overseas locations is mixed with double-dealings and multiple betrayals as a gang of South Korean thieves team up with a Hong Kong crew to steal a diamond necklace from a heavily-guarded casino safe in Macau.

With over 12.9 million ticket sales, the action comedy is currently the second highest grossing movie in Korean film history.


Set-up: Posing as mother and daughter, two professional thieves - middle-aged alcoholic Chewing Gum (Kim Hae-sook) and trashy-sexy cat burglar Anycall (Jun Ji-hyun) - rob the wealthy owner of Leesung Gallery (Shin Ha-kyun) of a rare artifact he bought from notorious Chinese fence Wei Hong (Ki Gook-seo). The theft is organized by team leader Popeye (Lee Jung-jae), helped by his associate Jampano (Kim Soo-hyun). The next day they are visited by a police detective (Ju Jin-mo) who is hot on Popeye's trail. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong Chinese veteran thief Chen (Simon Yam), along with Johnny (Derek Tsang) and Korean-Chinese Andrew (Oh Dal-soo), are busy robbing a jewelry shop. Afterwards, they're joined by Julie (Angelica Lee), the daughter of a professional safecracker. To escape the heat at home, the Koreans join Chen's gang in Hong Kong for a heist led by South Korean master thief Macau Park (Kim Yoon-seok), who was once Popeye's boss. Park's plan is to steal the Tear of the Sun diamond, worth US$30 million, which was stolen during an exhibition in Tokyo by Japanese thief Madame Tiffany (Yeh Soo-jung), mistress of Wei Hong, who is coming to sell it in Macau. Popeye has brought along safecracker Pepsi (Kim Hye-soo), just released on parole, but Park is unhappy with her joining the team, as they once had a relationship that ended badly four years ago. Park intends to sell the diamond back to Wei Hong for US$20 million - a risky venture as Wei Hong, whose face has rarely been seen, has a habit of murdering anyone who crosses him. Everyone in the team of thieves has a separate agenda and, when the robbery finally takes place in Macau, little goes according to plan.



Critical Press

Time Out New York

A cross-pollinated mixture of Hollywood-blockbuster bombast, Asian cool and ’60s Vegas ring-a-ding swing, this popular South Korean super-caper movie finds two teams of professional thieves—one from Seoul, the other from Hong Kong—joining forces to boost a jewel for an old associate named Macau Park (Kim). There’s just one small catch: The gem that this legend of the criminal underworld is after is, naturally, located inside a heistproof casino. Meticulous plans will be plotted; catsuits will hug the curves of gorgeous women; somebody will turn out to be a mole for the fuzz; safes will be cracked; Simon Yam will rock a white suit like nobody’s business; and once things start to unravel, old animosities will be set aside in the name of postbetrayal payback. The question is not whether this slick, stylish import rips off Ocean’s Eleven, Rififi et al., but how ridiculously fun director Choi Dong-hoon and his Pan-Asian cast can make such blatant genre retreading—the answer being nearly off the charts. Welcome to the K-cinema equivalent of comfort food – David Fear


Los Angeles Times

Comparisons to such ensemble capers as "Ocean's Eleven" or "Tower Heist" are inevitable, but South Korea's "The Thieves" carves its own niche with moments of romance and stylish mayhem mixed with a more emotionally conflicted, winner-take-all sensibility than its American brethren. Director Dong-hoo Choi ("The Big Swindle"), who co-wrote the sometimes overly complex script with Gi-cheol Lee, begins by jauntily setting up the potential theft of a $30 million diamond from a Macau casino vault by an intrepid band of high-end crooks, each, of course, with a burgling specialty. – Gary Goldstein


Village Voice

Easier to like than it is to follow, Choi Dong-hoon's glossy caper boasts all the pomp and cajolery of the true international blockbuster. It's like some exhaustedly populist pan-Asian restaurant with too many menu pages and Soderbergh's Ocean's Eleven playing on a flat-screen over the bar. You never want to leave, until suddenly you feel queasy and punished. The essential operation involves Korean and Chinese crews in uneasy cahoots for a Macau casino heist, with several stars graciously allowed their often daffy individual variations on suavity. Their target is a $20 million diamond, but really this is about the journey—galloping through lots of peppy infighting and Hong Kong action homage toward the climactic showdown between a chilly mobster (Kee Kook-seo) and a charismatic criminal mastermind (Kim Yun-seok). Choi keeps things brightly lit and twinkling with the glamour of Zippo flicks, pocket picks, safe cracks, and double-crosses, plus some signature mix of menace and comic relief. Stuffed with free-floating flashbacks and schemes within schemes, The Thieves reminds us how mass-market storytelling is after all just one big compulsion to create a diversion. This didn't get to be Korea's highest-ever grosser by accident. – Jonathan Kiefer



LensViews: 7

I must admit I went into this film predisposed not to like it based entirely on the title – the English language International title, that is: “The Thieves.”  How lame is that, I asked myself?  I guessed that the Korean title was simply “Thieves” and sure enough: 도둑들 Dodookdeul (Thieves).  Enough carping, and on to business. .  . which is: The Thieves is loads of fun, if hardly a mousetrap heist movie, which is a little too bad.  The one is merely entertaining, but nail both, and you’ve got yourself the makings of a nifty little classic.



Image: 8/9

Shot in a high gloss with the Red Epic camera. There is great clarity and often, but not always, sharpness to match.  There isn’t a great deal of exposure latitude with this camera (or HD cameras in general) and photographers allow highs to blow out like they are part of the design.  I generally find this attitude smacks of laziness but in The Thieves, where everything is more than a little over the top, it seems to fit. Blacks are solid and color is natural with a touch of gold.



Audio & Music: 8/7

Well Go opts for only the original Korean language track in uncompressed DTS-HD Master Audio 5.  There are smatterings of Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese by various characters on and off, as if trying to fake out the people they are speaking to. Dialogue and effects, which are scattered throughout and all over the soundscape, are clear and, when needed, dynamic, yet there are occasional splays of gunfire form all directions that don’t feel like they add up to what we see or believe is happening off the sides.  The music starts off with a jaunty propulsiveness and often comes on in a an almost symphonic way to introduce scene changes and then is unceremoniously dropped.  It’s kind of too bad since some of those incipits have potential.



Extras: 2

Two brief behind the scenes featurettes attend this release: an EPK Making-of that weaves in bits of interviews with a closer look at stunts and wire work; and a helpful item that sorts out several of the main characters for us.  You might want to watch this one before tackling the feature film.



Recommendation: 8

I have never been a fan of the Oceans 11 remakes – they’re just too labored, too conspicuously self-referential, and don’t have nearly enough fun.  On the other hand, Korean comedy, like Sisily 2 km and The Foul King, often has an edge that keeps us glued to the story despite AND because of its off the wall characters.  The Thieves certainly isn’t the best Korean comedy I’ve seen, and not the best action film (e.g. The Chaser) but it is entertaining, especially the final 30 minutes or so - like a series of amusement park rides, and just as disjointed. Ridiculously cheap on Amazon just now.  Recommended.

Leonard Norwitz

© LensViews

February 10, 2013

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