- FILM & PEOPLE
- K-Cinema Library
Jan 13, 2020
- Writerby Pierce Conran
2012 | 135 MIN | Action, Crime
DIRECTOR CHOI Dong-hoon
CAST KIM Yun-seok, KIM Hye-soo, LEE Jung-jae, Gianna JUN, Simon YAM, KIM Hae-sook, OH Dal-su
RELEASE DATE July 25, 2012
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After three straight hits at the Korean box office, Director CHOI Dong-hoon assembled one of the glitziest Korean casts of all time for his latest jazzy crime crowd-pleaser The Thieves in 2012. Not only did the film surpass the director’s previous box office heights, but over the course of a long, hot summer, it nabbed almost 13 million viewers, cementing him as a filmmaker with an unerring sense of what audiences are looking for.
Popeye (LEE Jung-jae) and his cadre of thieves, which include Anycall (Gianna JUN), Chewinggum (KIM Hae-sook) and Zampano (KIM Soo-hyun) decide to lay for a while after swiping an invaluable antique. Macao Park (KIM Yun-seok) contacts them about a job and the gang make their way to Hong Kong to meet him, along with his former partner in crime Pepsi (KIM Hye-soo), who has just been released from jail. There, they team up with a local group of criminals, among them Chen (Simon YAM), Andrew (OH Dal-su), Julie (Angelica LEE) and Johnny (Derek TSANG). The plan is for the gang of ten to swipe a USD 20 million diamond known as the ‘Tear of the Sun’, which is locked up in a Macao casino.
Beyond its heavyweight Korean cast, which includes box office magnets such as KIM Yun-seok (The Chaser, 2008), Gianna JUN (My Sassy Girl, 2001) and KIM Hye-soo (Tazza: The High Rollers, 2006), not to mention the young KIM Soo-hyun (Secretly Greatly, 2013) who would soon partner with JUN on the sensationally popular drama series My Love from the Star, The Thieves also features an impressive array of Chinese-language talent, including Hong Kong actor Simon YAM (Election, 2011), actor/director Derek TSANG (Soulmate, 2017) and Malaysian actress Angelica LEE (The Eye, 2002).
The story takes place and was filmed in an array of colorful locations, including Seoul and Busan in Korea, and Hong Kong and Macao, all of which get plenty of impressive screen time during several daring action set pieces that see the thieves rappel along the sides of buildings against these variegated urban landscapes.
With sharp and speedy dialogue and an array of twists and double-crosses, The Thieves breathlessly moves from one location to the next in a smooth package put together by Director CHOI’s confident and experienced hands.
Director CHOI, along with his producer AHN Soo-hyun, both of whom run the production company Caper Film, would go on to score big once again with Assassination in 2015, which includes many of the same faces, and are currently at work preparing to shoot a two-part (and as yet unnamed) action-SF spectacle which will hit screens in 2021.