It didn’t take Zack Snyder very long to come up with a companion piece for his catastrophically bad Army of the Dead trainwreck. He came up with a prequel, which puts his goofy German safe cracker Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer), front, back and center of Army of Thieves. The German star also directed the Snyder script.
Let’s see if this one is any better than Army of the Dead.
One thing right upfront: AoT is silly and campy, like one of those 70s crime comedies. Maybe not as slapsticky but still funny as heck. And didn’t we love those crime capers, often of French and British origin? They were good, no?
And I must say Matthias Schweighöfer did a fine job at the helm of AoT. I mean, why not? He’s the leading character, so he should know how to set himself in scene most effectively, no? Rest of the crew, particularly the girls – Nathalie Emmanuel (Gwendoline), Ruby O. Fee (Korina) and Noémie Nakai (Beatrix) – are adding some much needed soul and sex appeal to the plot. Their male counterparts are, as typical for our times, either idiots, overly ambitious psychowrecks or just downright assholes. The only one who comes away as a kind of lovable doofus/genius is Schweighöfer.
A compliment to all actors, they weren’t afraid to show themselves from their weakest and most hilarious sides. Especially Schweighöfer who plays Dieter, The Quirk personified.
Zack Snyder must also be complimented for his pretty amusing screenplay. Not as over the top as all the crime capers from the 70s but really refreshing for a 2021 product. Remember the Pink Panther and Fantomas flicks? No, Schweighöfer doesn’t have Luis de Funés hysteria, Jean Marais cool masculinity, neither David Niven’s gentlemanlike appearance nor Peter Sellers’ comedic genius. Those times are gone and won’t be coming back. Our western civilisation has lost the joie de vivre and is far too obsessed with selfmade problems and late stage capitalism. A shame, really.
Anyhoo, was AoT any good? Yes, absolutely. Not a great film, not a masterpiece but a nice fluffy piece of usable cinema/visual fluff. And much muuuuuch better than its predecessor Army Of the Dead. Orca’s recommendation: Go and get any of the Pink Panther and Fantomas flicks, and shower yourself with 70s style and 70s crude humour. Until then Army of Thieves will serve you fine as temporary replacement.