Honest Thief (Blu-ray Review)

At this point, seeing Liam Neeson as the lead in an action film only inspires so much confidence in the quality. Honest Thief, even when getting something that can make movie fans feel closer to normal in an odd year, is not one that’s bringing much new to the table. Despite a strong supporting cast and 19(!) producers that believed in this film, the film ends up playing largely as a low-rent version of what one of these Neeson films can offer, and it just happens to star the man himself. Now Honest Thief arrives on Blu-ray with a decent enough presentation, despite having little else to offer.


This time around, Neeson stars as Tom Carter, a former marine who has worked for years as a career criminal. Known as the “In-and-Out Bandit,” Tom soon meets and falls in love with Annie (Kate Walsh), and decides to give up his life of crime. Going one step further, Tom wants to turn himself in, give back the money he has stolen, ideally having a chance to start again completely clean with Annie. However, a corrupt FBI agent (Jai Courtney) convinces his partner (Anthony Ramos) to go along with a plan to take Tom’s money for themselves, eventually framing Tom for murder in the process.

The problems come right away with this film when simply considering how Tom got into his position. He’s a veteran who seemingly doesn’t need all the money he’s stolen (made more confusing by the fact that he has all of it stored away). So, the film takes very little time to get into why he was a thief for so many years. That said, things ramp up pretty quickly into silly territory once Tom tries to turn himself in.

Ideally, we should be sold by Neeson’s gravitas. For the most part, Neeson does what’s needed to command the screen when he’s present, including good-natured conversations between him and Robert Patrick as a top FBI agent, and Jeffrey Donovan as his partner. There’s a way to get some humor out of these moments, given that no one initially believes Neeson when he calls to say he’s the thief he says he is. Plus, the film is set in Boston, so there’s a range of accents going around.

However, for every attempt to be exciting, scenes come with major eye-rolling moments thanks to bland direction and a lack of creativity to better explore the idea of a thief attempting to go straight. Instead, we have Jai Courtney once again coming close to sinking a film based on his presence, alone. Granted, he’s better served as a villain, but there’s just nothing to this guy. He’s fortunately balanced out by Ramos as his partner. However, when the film runs out of ideas beyond sending these characters to different locations to argue over the same things (unless we need a break for a shootout), it becomes quite repetitive.

Co-writer/director Mark Williams may have had fun having the chance to put together another old man action movie for Liam Neeson, but the results are rarely impressive. Neeson does his thing; the film is at least paced well enough, but Boston has rarely felt more lifeless on film, and while it’s not overdone in a manner befitting some of the worst of these sorts of films (it’s no Taken 3), it still feels like a big-screen display of going through the motions.



Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail: Shot digitally with a fairly modest budget when it comes to Neeson action flicks, there’s a strong enough presentation on display without ever being overly impressive. There’s some softness to be found in scenes set outdoors. There’s a clear enough handle on indoor scenes, the fights, and other areas for an action film. Details come through well when it comes to environments and costumes, overall.

Depth: Depth of field is captured well here, with a level of dimensionality that comes across effectively.

Black Levels: Shadow and black levels are terrific throughout. No signs of crushing.

Color Reproduction: Colors look great, even if the film is not overflowing with them. Costumes, in particular, are given a chance to pop with color when they can. Some well-lit rooms have a chance to show off the balance.

Flesh Tones: Character detail is strong enough.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean.



Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, DVS Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The 7.1 lossless track presented is doing a lot of good work to push up the excitement in such a flawed film. Score and other elements are all handled quite appropriately. There’s nothing unexpected about the quality here.

Low-Frequency Extension: There are plenty of good moments to bring life to the LFE channel. Guns, explosions, and more give the sub-woofer enough to do.

Surround Sound Presentation: The film is front and center-focused, but you have plenty to go on as far as the surrounding atmosphere. The balance is great.

Dialogue Reproduction: Everyone is heard loud and clear.



Not one thing, aside from the extra copies of the film.

  • DVD Copy of the Film
  • Digital HD Copy of the Film



There’s nothing particularly worthwhile about a bland Liam Neeson action film, but I’m sure fans will get something out of this one, even if it’s clearly on the lower end of the man’s output. The Blu-ray presentation is strong enough in terms of video and audio. There are no extras whatsoever, which is disappointing to an extent, but I didn’t expect much either. Perhaps worthy of a rental, but nothing to get amped about.

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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