2017 brought us The Hatton Garden Job, a movie about the titular bank heist where old men robbed the bank over the Easter weekend of 2015, the team containing Larry Lamb, Clive Russell, Phil Daniels and David Calder, so that’s just four. This new film retreads the same premise but also throwing in Billy the Fish Lincoln and Carl Wood. A total of eight male pensioners were involved, so the films can chop and change to suit, with this one bringing us the more famous faces of Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent, Tom Courtenay and Paul Whitehouse.
Both also feature a young character, but who was never confirmed as being involved. The 2017 film sees Matthew Goode playing him unnamed, while here, Charlie Cox (Eat Locals, The Theory Of Everything) plays Basil, the name given in the press.
But that’s not the end of the story with this… story, since ITV also made a version of this – Hatton Garden – which stars Kenneth Cranham, David Hayman, Alex Norton, Timothy Spall and Geoff Bell, and was intended for broadcast around Christmas 2017. To date, it still hasn’t been shown and no-one knows why.
The Hatton Garden Job ran for 93 minutes and spent a fair bit of time setting it all up, showing them casing the bank inside and out, before embarking on the procedure. Despite the longer running time, King Of Thieves gets to the bank vault more quickly, at around 20-25 minutes, but at the expense of eeking the job out with extended flashback scenes showing how we got to this, and then we have endless scenes of “Hey, the police have cottoned on to this, so let’s see them going here” then “Now the police have realised the baddies go to this place, so let’s stake them out and listen to what they say, in case they say anything revealing”, and the second part sounds like it’s repeated about ten times before they finally catch up with them.
However, even as we watch them partake in the theft, it all feels incredibly flat with everyone onscreen doing nothing more than going through the motions. The film’s about working for a short time and for a quick buck, and that’s how it feels in the main cast’s actions.
It’s a shame because we have a great deal of talent, here, yet the studio have fallen back on an idea that’s already been pipped to the screen, and it feels like a lazy cash-grab. I’m not expecting the likes of Caine and Courtenay to be running the 100 metres against Usain Bolt, but at least give them something challenging to do.
One big surprise is that, Caine’s Brian Reader stays home at the time of the bank job, whereas Larry Lamb got stuck into the vault like the real Brian Reader, and unless I’ve got a bad memory, it feels like things go in a different direction as to where Basil goes in this film.
King Of Thieves has plenty of shots of London, along with an upbeat backing track with a load of trumpets, all of which sounds like segments of an unused score from a Pink Panther movie which was left on the cutting room floor… well, in the synthesiser. To that end, and to also hark back to the ’60s and ’70s, modern day driving footage is briefly, pointlessly, intercut with driving footage that’s shot to make it look like it was shot back then. This is meant to show that once upon a time, these men had *it*, and that’s what they’re trying to prove again now. At other times, there is actual footage of all of the cast in earlier (and more worthy) roles.
This is moderately watchable, but much better films staring the cast are: Alfie (Michael Caine), The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover (Michael Gambon), The Gunman (Ray Winstone), Hot Fuzz (Jim Broadbent), 45 Years (Tom Courtenay) and Ghost Stories (Paul Whitehouse).
There’s very little to get excited about in the extras section:
- Michael Caine Interview (7:21): Very standard Q&As with the “Q” as a caption and the “A” with the person featured talking to someone off-camera. Basically, it’s the sort puff piece the likes of BBC Breakfast can slot into their own features when a film’s being released.
- Featurette (9:35): Done in the usual extras style of mixing film clips with soundbites from the cast and crew, with no surprises whatsoever.
- Bringing The Ensemble Together (2:13): A continuation of the featurette. In fact, it may as well have just been part of it.
- Deleted Scenes (1:54): 2 of them, with no reason to be put back in and extend the running time even longer.
- Trailer (2:28): In the original theatrical 2.35:1 widescreen ratio.
- Audio description: Does exactly what it says on the tin.
Running time: 108 minutes
Released: January 21st 2019
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS 5.1 HD-MA
Subtitles: English SDH
Widescreen: 2.35:1 (RED Weapon 8K S35)
Disc Format: BD50
Director: James Marsh
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Amelia Granger, Ali Jaafar, Michelle Wright
Screenplay: Joe Penhall
Magazine article: Mark Seal
Music: Benjamin Wallfisch
Brian Reader: Michael Caine
Billy the Fish Lincoln: Michael Gambon
Basil: Charlie Cox
Danny Jones: Ray Winstone
Terry Perkins: Jim Broadbent
Lynne Reader: Francesca Annis
John Kenny Collins: Tom Courtenay
Carl Wood: Paul Whitehouse
DI Johnson: Matt Burdock
DS Day: Claire Lichie
DC Amy: Ann Akin
Terri Robinson: Kellie Shirley
Frankie “The Fence”: Adam Leese
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.