Inspired by the events of the Hatton Garden robbery of 2015, and not to be confused with last year’s The Hatton Garden Job, King of Thieves brings together some of Britain’s acting royal family to portray an allegedly more accurate representation of the notorious heist than last year’s offering.
A group of old school criminals (more Pension’s Seven than Ocean’s Eleven) reminisce about their glory days before embarking on the opportunity of a lifetime; robbing the Hatton Garden vault, offered to them by Charlie Cox’s Basil, a security expert. As the robbery progresses greed, paranoia and deception combine as tension within the gang threatens to expose them all and individual agendas are revealed.
King of Thieves is a film that can’t quite decide which genre it belongs to and has a script that doesn’t make the most of the wealth of acting ability at its mercy. The opening has a definite Guy Ritchie vibe to it, and clips from the actor’s previous films showcasing their criminal exploits in an almost documentary fashion is clever, but doesn’t quite hit the mark. Indeed, one scene showing the main players in their youth backfires and does nothing but prove most of them have been in better films than this one.
The majority of the cast do a decent job, particularly Jim Broadbent as the unhinged Terry and Michael Gambon as fence Billy the Fish, even though Gambon is there for little more than comic relief in an all too brief role. Michael Caine is as reliable as ever, Ray Winstone is (surprise) Ray Winstone, Tom Courtenay is his usual loveable self whilst Charlie Cox and Paul Whitehouse are perfectly fine in forgettable roles.
The characters aren’t explored nearly enough and the script risks parody as the verbal sparring between certain members of the Cockney crew results in a cascade of “facks” and “caants”, but there’s some nice banter between these old diamond geezers and some genuinely funny moments, but it’s not quite enough.
King of Thieves is a wasted opportunity and guilty of not being as good as it could’ve been. Entertaining in places and held together by the experienced ensemble, but the real crime is not making full use of this stellar cast.