ARMY OF THIEVES (L to R) Guz Khan as ROLF, Matthias Schweighöfer as LUDWIG DIETER, Stuart Martin as BRAD CAGE in ARMY OF THIEVES. Photo Credit: Stanislav Honzik/Netflix © 2021

Zack Snyder’s follow-up, or shall we say prequel, to Netflix’s summer zombie hit Army of the Dead is less zombie and more heist movie. And while hitting the entirely familiar genre troupes there is a safe fall of fun and endearing capers to make this an enjoyable Friday night watch.

Set 6 years before Army of the Dead, the action centres on Matthias Schweighöfer’s – who also directs – slightly awkward and nerdy German safecracker Dieter before he met his sticky end. He spends his days behind the desk of a bank and makes safecracking videos that nobody watches. After getting an anonymous invite to an underground safe-cracking competition, Dieter is recruited by Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) to join her merry band of oddball thieves (Guz Khan, Stuart Martin and Ruby O Fee). The objective, to break into some of the world’s most complicated safes for a very little pay-off.

This offering to the franchise could easily stand on its own and makes no attempt to be a part of the Zombie apocalypse that came before. The only moment that really ties it in with its predecessor is the flitting glimpses of the emerging zombie outbreak on a TV, which fazes absolutely no one but Dieter’s dreams.

Throw in a will they won’t they romance plot with Gwendoline, the usual double-cross and cat and mouse chase from Interpol provides nothing fresh or new. The script from co-writer Shay Hatten is so effortlessly written it has the desired effect of charming your pants off. Cleverly and stylishly, it brings to life the more mundane parts of safe-cracking with intricate and eye-popping visuals. Taking you inside the safe as Dieter nervously goes to work with the accompaniment of Wagner pumping through his phone.

Netflix’s latest original film ticks all the right popcorn fodder boxes, it’s far from award-winning stuff but it oozes emotional connection and lovable enjoyment to provide some rare escapism without feeling like you’ve just wasted a couple of hours of your life.

Army of Thieves hits Netflix on October 29th.

Army of Thieves
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Once failed wannabe actress, Ex-music industry veteran who once dabbled in Artist Management, and now Film Journalist extraordinaire. My love for the arts has seen my fingers in many pies but my love of Film won the battle. Current work credits include Film Editor at Flavourmag, Film Journalist/Writer at HeyUGuys, London Live's London Film Club and DIY Magazine. Previous work credits contributor at The Voice Newspaper, FlickFeast, MyFilmClub and film review slot on radio.