Review: Army of Thieves is a smart, witty, and ultimately poignant heist thriller

A humble, nerdy bank teller with a secret passion for safecracking finds himself taking on the heist challenge of a lifetime in Army of Thieves, a prequel to Zack Snyder’s hugely entertaining Army of the Dead, which debuted earlier this year on Netflix. Army of Thieves is light on zombies but brings the same sly humor and thrilling action to its story, making it a beautifully crafted entertaining romp in its own right.

(Spoilers for Army of the Dead below. Mostly mild spoilers for Army of Thieves, but if you haven’t seen its predecessor, there is one major spoiler at the end. We’ll give you a heads up when we get there.)

Army of the Dead followed Scott Ward (Dave Bautista) and his team of mercenaries as they ventured into zombie-infested Las Vegas to recover millions in cash from a casino vault. Brain-munching carnage ensued. In addition to Tig Notaro’s delightfully cynical pilot and Samantha Win’s martial arts fireworks, viewers loved the dynamic between zombie-killing-machine Vanderohe (Omari Hardwick) and the brilliantly nerdy, high-strung German safecracker Ludwig Dieter (Matthias Schweighöfer). Not only did the two forge a believable (albeit reluctant) bond, Dieter’s well-timed high-pitched screams whenever a zombie charged was one of several running gags. So naturally Dieter got his own prequel. And you know what? Schweighöfer’s standout character deserved one.

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