The latest Liam Neeson vehicle, “Honest Thief,” might be classified as a thriller, but its thrills are predictable in every way. Even when the plot twists, viewers won’t be surprised, having already been warned of winding roads ahead. It’s an inoffensive movie, full of such familiar tropes, it hardly matters if you can keep your eyes open to the end.
Neeson plays Tom, a bank robber who throws away his ill-gotten gains for love. Tom meets Annie (Kate Walsh) as he is looking to rent a storage unit, and they hit it off so well, he gives up his life of crime. Hoping that he can broker a light sentence and return quickly to his lady love, Tom calls the F.B.I. to confess to stealing $9 million from small-town banks. But his plans are thwarted as two federal agents decide to abscond with Tom’s stolen money. If Tom wants to restore order, he’ll have to take on the law.
The writer and director Mark Williams doesn’t aim for surprise or suspense, so much as he aims to show competence. The action sequences zip along pleasantly, clearly mapping the positions taken in the cat-and-mouse game between an honest crook and crooked cops. The actors are given enough space to build up some chemistry, whether the teams we watch are the romantic pairing of Neeson and Walsh, or Jai Courtney and Anthony Ramos as the two conflicted agents. The film is forgettable and facile, the kind of movie that comforts on cable on nights when nothing else will summon sleep.
Rated PG-13 for action and violence. Running time: 1 hour 39 minutes. In theaters. Please consult the guidelines outlined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before watching movies inside theaters.