Neeson plays Tom Carter, a former Marine who has cleaned out enough banks to earn the nickname the In and Out Bandit, and he’s introduced plying his trade. When he meets Annie (Kate Walsh), he decides to settle down and come clean, contacting the FBI and offering them a deal: A light sentence, near where she can visit him, in exchange for returning the stolen loot.
Still, an extended plea deal wouldn’t exactly meet the customary action requirements, so Carter is pretty quickly double-crossed by corrupt agents, forcing him to go on the run and defend himself. In pursuit are FBI agents harboring different objectives, the most prominent being Agent Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan), who spends his spare time cooing at his dog, and a pair of younger agents (Jai Courtney, Anthony Ramos) under his supervision.
Mostly, it’s an excuse for Neeson to say things like “I’m comin’ for you” as only he can, and eventually marshal his thieving/safecracking talents against those pursuing him. Unfortunately, both he and perhaps especially Walsh are saddled with a lot of bad dialogue (the film was written and directed by Mark Williams), in the latter case punctuated by her understandable surprise that the new man in her life is suddenly a fugitive.
To be fair, “Honest Thief” is honest about its intentions, providing a check-your-brain-at-the-door escape. Of course, the decision to enter the door to a theater in order to see something this marginal could be another matter.
“Honest Thief” premieres in theaters on Oct. 16. It’s rated PG-13.