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The Thieves Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (24Hz)
  • Audio Codec: Korean DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), Korean Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: Not Rated
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 136 Mins.
  • Studio: Well Go USA Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: February 12, 2013
  • List Price: $29.98

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

A South Korean heist film from director/co-writer Choi Dong-Hoon featuring a star-studded international cast of South Korean and Hong Kong actors, The Thieves (도둑들) at first hits you like the Asian version of Ocean’s Eleven. It’s glamorous, it’s easygoing, it has flare and a comedic overtone. Dive deeper into the film, however, and there is a multilayered level of complexity that unfolds as wide as the film is grand in its cinematic scope.

Glitzy from the get go, Choi introduces us to the world of high stakes crime in the opening scene with a daring con and theft of an expensive Korean artifact from an unsuspecting mark’s private safe in a museum. It involves high-tech security systems, dangling from wires outside of high-rise buildings and chewing gum. Afterwards, we are thrust into a somewhat more mundane but no less compelling world of thievery as we eventually meet the two teams that will be brought together to pull off a daring casino gem heist in Macao.

Team one, the Koreans, a motley group of veteran specialists led by Popie (Lee Jung-Jae), consisting of the slinky “cat burglar” and rope walker Yenicall, played by the equally luscious and humorous Jun Ji-yun, the older veteran linguist and “character actress” of the group, Chewingum (Kim Hae-suk), recently paroled safe-cracker Pepsee (Kim Hye-su), and the young but talented cable handler Zampano (Kim Soo Hyun). Team two, the Hong Kong team, consists of leader and generally badass gangster Chen (Simon Yam), safe-cracker Julie (Lee Sinje), and two street smart toughs Andrew (Oh Dai-su) and Johnny (Kwok Cheung Tsang). The Koreans and the Hong Kong team can’t stand each other from the word go, but they’ve all been brought together by enigmatic gangster and thief Macao Park (Kim Yun-seok) for a giant heist. They’re to assemble in Macao to steal a $20 Million  diamond from a mark and sell it back to its original owner, the dangerous, nefarious gangster Wei Hong, whom only Chen and Macao Park have ever seen before. This arrangement, complicated as it is, is only more complicated given the history between Macao Park and the South Koreans, especially Pepsee. The former lovers now can’t stand each other. Pepsee blames Macao for her stint in prison and believes he made off with all the gold the team was in the process of stealing when she was caught.

Choi’s screenplay is a wonder of suspense, action, and thrills, as the story unfolds cleverly through carefully placed flashbacks, which are never overused. As the scheme to pull off the heist pushes forward, it becomes pretty obvious very quickly that no one here trusts anyone, and the entire “team” begins plotting and scheming behind each other’s backs to double-cross one another. There’s no honor among thieves, as the saying goes, and this plays out before our eyes in The Thieves. Everything we think we know isn’t ever quite as it seems. This makes the film ever more interesting, because the real suspense and fun in The Thieves, is wondering who will come out on top, not how or if they will ever manage to pull off the heist in the first place. And, let’s face it, no one here is really worth cheering for since they are all confidence men and crooks.

The pace is brisk, and there is just the right amount of comedic relief to keep the film from becoming too serious. The banter between Pepsee and Yenicall, who really dislike each other, is always funny. It’s like at any moment a cat fight might break out.

Video Quality

[Rating:4.5/5]

Filmed in HD with the Red Epic camera and Zeiss Ultra Prime and Angenieux Optimo lenses, The Thieves arrives on Blu-ray with a top notch AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Well Go. There’s little in the way of video noise, colors are vivid, contrast is strong while blacks are deep without crushing. Detail is crisp and there aren’t any hints of aliasing, posterization, or edge enhancement to get in the way of enjoyment.

Audio Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The audio is a bit of a mixed bag. Offered in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/16-bit), it proves to be quite exhilarating with lots of low end punch during the climactic shoot-out near the end of the film. However, it does tend to get rather silent and dry for most of the film, even as it offers clear dialogue and a decent spread across the front.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

There isn’t much here, but the making-of and Meet the Thieves featurette both provide a bit of behind-the-scenes footage and some interviews with the cast and crew.

The supplements:

  • Making Of (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:05:51)
  • Meet The Thieves (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 00:04:33)
  • Trailer (2.35:1; 1080i/60)

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:4/5]

A deftly handled, sleek, big budget heist film from South Korea, this one rivals anything Hollywood can push out and then some. It has action, comedy, special effects, fantastic gunplay, a love story, gorgeous locales, and beautiful women in catsuits – what’s to complain about?

Additional Screen Captures

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BestBuy.com:
The Thieves - Blu-ray Disc

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[amazon-product]B00AN5LD2Q[/amazon-product]

BestBuy.com:
The Thieves - Blu-ray Disc

Purchase The Thieves on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:4/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4.5/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]


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