A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Eschewing boredom, pursuing a love interest, seeking a "life less ordinary," exploiting one's talents, and achieving a seemingly impossible goal are depicted as motivation to take to a life of crime.
Positive Role Models
The two main characters have higher objectives in carrying out bank heists, but ultimately they're willing to commit crimes and hurt people in the process. One character is naturally more violent and self involved. Some characters display loyalty to each other and make sacrifices for others. The main character is a gentle man.
The cast has characters from a diversity of backgrounds, nationalities, and ethnicities. There's no real discussion of these differences. The cast is also multilingual, though they speak English together, and the setting moves across countries. The "nerds," kind people, and women are the heroes, not the action-hero males.
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Violence & Scariness
Fist fights, with blood and some major knockouts, tense car and bike chases, some gun violence with no actual killings, tranquilizer darts, threats between characters, and bloodied Zombie faces on TV and in people's imaginations.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
One kiss. Some jealous behavior from a man. Another man has a serious crush.
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Variations on "f--k" and "s--t" as well as "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "ass," "badass," "balls," "d--k," "bastard," "d--khead," "p--sy," "stupid," "nerd," "dorky."
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Products & Purchases
VW, Mercedes Benz, YouTube.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The gang plays a drinking game and seems to get drunk. A character talks about hangover recipes. A security guard drinks beer on the job. A man who is shot in the arm takes what appear to be pain pills straight out of the container. A woman has a cigarette but she's just using it as a decoy.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Army of Thieves is a fast-paced heist film that serves as a prequel of sorts to Netflix's Army of the Dead. The film is much less gruesome than that zombie apocalypse tale, focusing on a kindly German bank teller and expert safe-cracker recruited by a diverse and multinational, multilingual gang looking to pull off some legendary bank heists. Bloody Zombies are seen on TV and in characters' imaginations. The heists involve some bloody fist fights, tranquilizer darts, threats, gun violence (no deaths), and tense bike and car chases. There's some drinking and one kiss. Some characters display loyalty and self sacrifice while others are more egotistical and violent. There's talk of the "corrupting influence" of money and power. Language includes variations on "f--k" and "s--t" as well as "hell," "damn," "goddamn," "ass," "badass," "balls," "d--k," "bastard," "d--khead," and "p—sy." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This Hollywood-style heist film from Germany builds an entertaining backstory to Netflix's action-heavy Army of the Dead, revolving around safecracker Dieter (aka Sebastian). Serving as a kind of European counterpart to the prior film, Army of Thieves focuses more on character than action, involves a multinational cast, and is set against gorgeous locations (much more pleasing than Dead's apocalyptic Vegas). The cast is charismatic, especially leads Schweighöfer and Emmanuel, who both exude a sweetness missing in too many American action movies. The filming aims to be stylistically interesting as well in terms of some conscientiously arty framing and lighting. A couple of getaway scenes through European landscapes are memorable, purposefully recalling Michael Caine classic The Italian Job.
Set (though not filmed) across Munich, Paris, Prague, and St. Moritz, the film borrows from other heist and action movies as well, doing so in an entirely self aware way. When a character sets up a sequence announcing it's the way it "would happen" in a heist movie, we understand exactly. When character Brad Cage, self named as a nod to hero Nicolas, is described as having grown up "watching American movies," we sense a wink and nod to star-director Schweighöfer himself and also to the kind of referential cinema he's constructing here. In that sense, Army of Thieves is a perfect product for the global streaming age -- made locally but meant to appeal internationally, and shot in English. Of course, you have to suspend some disbelief: Why is everyone speaking English? Is safe-cracking really just about having a keen ear? Why isn't anyone concerned about fingerprints? But you notice this precisely because the film, which runs a tad long at just over two hours, aims for a certain amount of realism within the genre, and that in itself is commendable.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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