This film from 2012, the second biggest grossing film in Korea, is a classic heist movie with a martial arts sensibility. In fact, the last eight words of that sentence are all you need to judge how good this film is.
In this film, two teams of thieves – one Korean and one Chinese – join together to steal a priceless diamond. But there's a double crosser on the team, so the team has to regroup to regain the diamond that they already stole, while the people they stole it from are after it too.
It's all about the glamour of high society crime. Some people have compared it to Ocean's Eleven but that's a very lazy comparison (and not very accurate). This kind of tale has been told at least since Raffles in the 1890s. And just like the Gentleman Thief, in The Thieves our heroes are never short of a smart reply or a cunning plan. However, this film is realistic in that the plans don't always work, and not everyone makes it to the end in one piece.
The heists are clever and a little comical and there are some excellent set pieces, most notably the chase scene with people abseiling down the side of a building. In fact, the second half of the film is one action scene after another.
Meanwhile, the film has a distinct international flavour with Korean and Chinese dialogue being joined by Japanese and English. Add to this the compelling performances from the whole cast, and there's very little to complain about.
Bottom line is: this is the first film in a long time that I wanted to watch again immediately after it'd finished. That alone tells you something.