Who doesn’t love a good heist film? Sometimes there’s nothing more entertaining than watching an eclectic band of thieves, assembled by a charismatic leader, who engage in a sophisticated caper where the odds are against them. Though technically criminals, their quirky charm wins us over. And it's especially satisfying if the victim deserves to be robbed.
Righteous Thieves desperately wants to be one of those films. But unfortunately, it’s just a checklist of familiar tropes that plays like it was assembled by a committee, who simply filled-in the blanks until they had their own heist movie.
The basic plot has a woman named Annabel (Lisa Videl) assembling a crew to steal a batch of priceless Jewish artwork from billionaire neo-Nazi Otto Huizen (Brian Cousins). You’ve met all these people before…the computer hacker, the safe-cracker, the infiltrator, the hired gun and the overconfident bad guy who practically dares them to steal from him. Of course, the entire crew, including Annabel herself, is photogenic and bursting with swagger, their actions punctuated by blaring hip-hop tunes to remind us how cool they are.
|"Maybe there's a key under the mat."|
Then there’s the heist itself. For a supposedly complicated job, none of it really looks all that difficult. They break into the place with relative ease, and for such a priceless collection, there ain’t much in the way of security…some cameras and a half-dozen “elite” mercenaries hired by Otto. But not only is the crew able to crack any safe and hack any computer, they’re all consummate ass-kickers.
Every aspect of Righteous Thieves is devoid of surprises…from the plot to the characters to the obligatory “gotcha!” twist ending. But even utter predictability can be enjoyable if done with a little flair. Unfortunately, the direction and performances never rise above perfunctory, while the screenplay is so generically assembled you can almost anticipate some of the dialogue before it’s even spoken.