Latest Posts

Army Of Thieves — A Prequel Where It's A Different Genre Of Film


Who has ever produced a prequel in a different film genre? If I'm not mistaken, Army of Thieves is the first game of its kind.

I initially believed I would be watching a movie for Halloween. Then it dawned on me that the film isn't even remotely scary. Alas! I anticipated that, but to my surprise, I'm glad I saw it.


Army of Thieves, a 2021 heist comedy film directed by Matthias Schweighöfer and written by Shay Hatten and Zack Snyder, is a prequel to The Army of the Dead. The film follows the story of safecracker Ludwig Dieter, played by Schweighöfer, who reprises his role from the first installment. Though cowardly and comical, Dieter played a critical role in ensuring the success of the Army of the Dead mission and saving the lives of his team members.

Before the primary assignment, Dieter had a number of exciting experiences that Army of Thieves takes the viewer on while also explaining the meaning of his unusual name. Dieter's aptitude at safecracking and his ability to master challenging vaults are highlighted throughout the movie. The audience learns about Dieter's past and his road to becoming the accomplished safecracker he is now through a series of flashbacks.

The movie boasts a talented cast, including Schweighöfer, Nathalie Emmanuel, Guz Khan, Ruby O. Fee, and Stuart Martin. The chemistry between the cast members is impressive, adding to the overall entertainment value of the film.

A bit of trivia:

Did you know that "Army of the Dead: The Prequel" was in development at Netflix since September 2020? The film, which later became known as "Army of Thieves," was shot in Germany and the Czech Republic and wrapped up filming in December 2020.

The plot is centered around Schweighöfer's character Ludwig Dieter, showing how he learned to crack safes with former heist teams. Schweighöfer admitted that while the movie isn't categorically a zombie film, the filmmaker teased that the undead may appear; while Zack Snyder confirmed that there will be zombies in the film.


A big pro for Army of Thieves is that it has Army of the Dead to fall back on. Thanks to that, Zack Snyder fills the film with Easter eggs on what happened to Sebastian (Ludwig Dieter) in Army of the Dead and how did he get there. Staying true to his signature style, Zack brings a cinematic wonder on screen. While his story is not always at the forefront (which is also the case with Army of Thieves), he brings in other elements like editing, cinematography, and music that make you forgive the comparatively weaker storyline.

On paper, Army of Thieves is nothing but the story of how a dork named Sebastian/Ludwig Dieter met a group of people who slowly but steadily helped build his confidence to face the world. However, with the background of Army of the Dead and Zack's knack for showing a visual wonder, Army of Thieves becomes a pretty good watch.

Matthias Schweighofer aka Sebastian (who was known as Ludwig Dieter in Army of the Dead) commences the film and he gets into the character instantly. The reality of his name is also explored in the film later and it is heartwarming.

Zack Snyder's commercial elements - use of slow-mo, intense music, the story playing in the background, and amazing visuals - come to play. Soon, there are Army of the Dead easter eggs, including the safe, which will make you feel nostalgic. The 'Mr. Nervous Guy' (Sebastian) is faced with competition within the first 10 minutes of the film. Thus, you know that he will have to keep up throughout the film, while always being pitted against someone.

Nathalie Emmanuel as Gwendoline, whom we've previously seen from Game of Thrones and Fast and the Furious film series, has a great introduction. Of course, it is as much filmy and dramatic as Zack can get. Her complicated story is explained well but it is still tough to wrap your head around it. The film is more feminist than what was shown in the trailers. Nathalie, in action especially, is one of the best parts of the film. In that aspect, Beatrix (Noemie Nakai) is a strong person and quite a surprise too.

Dieter's comical moments as always are wonderful. He lives his whole life behind the doors and Zack has brought that out perfectly, especially in the scene where he and the viewers relive the Army of The Dead nightmare. His nervous nature is so intact that even in action, he is hilarious.

His moments with Gwendoline are so intense they raise the excitement level. Their bond grows into something great and meaningful.

Dieter's time with the Wagner's Ring Cycle is but creepy. While the showrunners probably tried to show it as hilarious, there is a split second that makes you cringe and that is enough to disturb you. The technical part though (opening of the locks), like always, is a wonder.

Bly Tanaka comes back to the franchise and with that, you know trouble is on the way. His presence, however, is limited to a photo. Dave Bautista, instead, has a cameo of sorts in the film.

Brad (Stuart Martin) has a change in character. While he tries hard to portray the switch in a dignified manner, the actor succeeds only halfway.

Army of Thieves goes off-track at many places. It, of course, suffers at the hands of dramatization, especially where Matthias or Nathalie aren't involved.

Although the cat-and-mouse chase gets interesting at places, it is still pretty predictable. There is an Easter egg in the film about how Dieter died at the hand of zombies in Army of the Dead. It is these moments that make up for what the film lacks.

The vault that changed Dieter's life also plays a major role in the Army of Thieves and not in the way that you would expect it to. Knowing the nerves of the viewers, the showrunners end the film as a cinematographic phenomenon.

How a locksmith named Richard Wagner played a major role in Dieter's life is explored excellently. Their lives also come along marvelously, for Richard's final phase also becomes Dieter's final phase (death at the hand of zombies after opening the vault). With that, the story of Dieter comes to a full circle. However, it leaves the thirst to find out more about Gwendoline's life and why she is presented as the mysterious woman throughout the movie.

The verdict:

If you are a fan of Zack Snyder films, watch Army of Thieves. If you want to have fun, then watch the movie. While Matthias promises a whole lot of entertainment through his antics, Natalie is a delight to watch because of her action. They both, along with Zack's style of direction, make Army of Thieves a good watch. Star Nathalie Emmanuel teased more Army of Thieves and says a sequel is possible “based on how people perceive it.”

How badly do we want a sequel?

No comments