Written by Zack Snyder and produced by Deborah Snyder, Army of Thieves is a prequel to the movie Army of the Dead which was released on Netflix earlier in 2021. If you haven't seen that particular film you can read our review here. But to save time I'll give you the general gist.
There's a zombie outbreak in Las Vegas and a group of mercenaries, led by Scott (Dave Bautista) take the ultimate gamble and head into the quarantine zone to pull off the greatest heist ever attempted. It too was written and directed by Zack Snyder, so you can already see the theme running through them both.
So now we are turning back the clock for Army of Thieves where the setting is the early stages of the zombie apocalypse. There is one noticeable difference between the two movies, however. A lot of the time a prequel involves the same characters – just a little younger. But with Army of Thieves, only one character ties the two together. That is Ludwig Dieter played by Matthias Schweighöfer. Otherwise, it's a whole new cast. Incidentally, Schweighöfer also directs the film.
Running at just over two hours, Army of Thieves is still fairly lengthy but when you're trying to create a romantic comedy heist film there's a lot to pack in. The Army of the Dead prequel is set six years earlier where we meet Ludwig Dieter in the early days of his safe cracking career.
Catching the eye of a crew that specialises in bank heists, they need Ludwig and his skills to complete a very daring string of bank robberies. So a mysterious woman named Gwendoline (Nathalie Emmanuel) persuades him to come on board.
There is just a small window of opportunity to pull off the heist while the world is distracted by the emerging zombies. So the misfit crew, clearly unflustered by the fact that zombies exist, put their plan into action.
The team consists of Korina (Ruby O. Fee) their master hacker, Rolph (Guz Khan) the getaway driver and Brad Cage (Stuart Martin) who is basically the muscle. The plan is to crack a sequence of three impossible-to-crack safes across Europe. There is a problem though. Our aspiring thieves are being chased by Interpol and robbing various banking institutions and moving money will be no easy task.
Army of Thieves is really good fun. A lot of the time heist movies take themselves far too seriously so Matthias Schweighöfer as Ludwig is there to bring the laughs as a naive but skilled safecracker. And of course, there's a necessary will-they-won't-they to add a little romance to the proceedings.
Producer Deborah Snyder described the film as similar to The Italian Job in a world where zombies exist, while explaining that the film is standalone in nature. As you would expect, that means lots of action, car chases, bank robberies, narrow escapes, and of course zombies.
Like all Snyder movies, Army of Thieves doesn't take itself too seriously so while it's highly implausible it's also a lot of fun to watch. Where Army of the Dead was most definitely an attempt at a zombie movie, Army of Thieves is not – it's a heist movie. So take it for what it is, an action-packed flick about a group of young aspiring thieves who just want to rob lots of money and get away with it.