5/10 A prequel to Zack Snyder’s “Army of the Dead”, this movie takes the safe cracking Ludwig Dieter character (played by Matthias Schweighöfer who also directs here) and gives him his own heist movie. While some individual aspects of this movie work well, the overarching story follows the cliché path of many similar films. As for what works, the character of Ludwig himself is a fun, likeable lead. I initially worried that an entire movie with him as the lead might wear thin after a while but despite his extremely high pitched scream, he ended up growing on me throughout the movie due to his sweet nature. Schweighöfer’s direction is strong and the cinematography looks great. I enjoyed the globetrotting aspects and all of the unique locations. We get some exposition about Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” but I found that information to be pretty fascinating. For a movie over two hours, the pacing works well as the movie is constantly moving forward. YouTube videos, flashbacks, voiceover and other film making tools are all well utilized, giving the movie several different aspects to play with. I enjoyed how the movie was connected to “Army of the Dead” without taking away from its own story. As for what didn’t work, there are several problems worth mentioning. As I hinted at earlier, the story of assembling a team where each member has a special skill in order to pull off the perfect heist has been done a million times and in a meta moment, this movie even compares itself to a movie that does this. Nothing about the story impressed or wowed me as I felt I had seen this all played out before. A character who does some double crossing can be seen coming from a million miles away. The Interpol agent who acts as the movie’s villain was over the top, had zero character development and would have been arrested or at the very least fired for his gross misconduct on the job. Pretty much every minor member on the heist team is given one personality trait and nothing more. The score is co-written by Hanz Zimmer and while it felt unique, it wasn’t memorable at all and I expect more from Zimmer. Finally, to crack a safe, characters put their ear to the safe and have to listen to each click in silence so they can hear what is going on. In “Army of the Dead” a character just speaking to Ludwig throws him off and he asks for silence so he can continue his work. Yet in this movie there are multiple scenes where there is a ton of needless background noise that would mess up Ludwig’s safe cracking but it never does. Near the beginning there is a crowd of people watching a safe cracking competition who are all loudly cheering and talking but that noise didn’t matter. Ludwig himself puts on music during his heists which doesn’t inhibit him at all and in the worst example of this inconsistency, Ludwig is cracking a safe in the back of a moving vehicle with tons of noise on a bumpy road with the vehicle constantly swaying from side to side. I didn’t believe for a second that even the best safe cracker in the world could do what he did under these conditions. In the end, the generic story, mediocre script and safe cracking inconsistencies makes this way less fun and exciting than “Army of the Dead”, despite some winning performances and great visuals. Not a bad movie but not a good one either.

#MunichAtNite / #SafeCaucasian / #SiegfriedForAll / #SittingOnARhinegoldMine / #InMySafeSpace / #BetterSafeThanStarry

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