Movie Review: 5 Times Jun Ji-hyun Stole the Scene in The Thieves (2012)

Honestly, action movies aren’t my cup of tea, but something about The Thieves got me hooked from the first to the last minute of it.


Released in 2012, The Thieves was once named the most-watched Korean movie of all time, recording a whopping 13 million theater admissions. It also marked the return to the heist genre of director Choi Dong-hoon, who previously directed smash hits The Big Swindle in 2004 and Tazza: The High Rollers in 2006.

Choi once again proved his magic by delivering an entertaining and well-executed heist movie comeback via The Thieves, which is about two rival groups of ace burglars that come together to snatch the Tear of the Sun, a $20-million rare diamond, from a crime lord’s mistress who is visiting a casino in Macau.

Choi also did a great job in creating the movie’s screenplay together with Lee Gi-cheol as they both managed to fill the 135-minute long masterpiece with a mixture of almost everything—action, comedy, drama, and romance. I also appreciate that they gave the female cast members an equal moment to shine.

Aside from the excellent directing and screenplay, the ensemble cast composed of A-list Korean and Hong Kong actors such as Kim Yoon-hee, Lee Jung-jae, Kim Hye-soo, Kim Hae-sook, Jun Ji-hyun, Kim Soo-hyun, and Simon Yam, among others also added spice to the film. Each of them delivered memorable acting performances that would stay with you even after the movie credits.

Chen CG
Simon Yam and Kim Hae-sook in character as Chen and Chewing Gum in The Thieves.

The two particular characters that made an impact on me are Chen (Simon Yam), a gentleman thief, and Chewing Gum (Kim Hae-sook), an expert con-artist, who found love while working as a husband and wife in their daring heist operation. The scene where they died in a car accident while fleeing the casino after their mission failed is so perfectly captured in a slowmo, pinching the viewers’ hearts.

But, my most favorite character of them all is none other than Jun Ji-hyun’s Yenicall, the daredevil wire-walker of the bandit group, and below is the list that proves she’s this heist movie’s scene-stealer (pun intended):

1. When her visuals confirmed that age is just a number


First of all, let’s take time to appreciate Jun Ji-hyun’s never-aging beauty that kept the viewers’ eyes glued to the wide screen every time she’s on. Photo stills above show two Jun Ji-hyuns from different years—on the left is her from the movie My Sassy Girl (2001) while on the right is also her from The Thieves (2012)—but, we can see barely no difference at all! Omo, is it possible that she discovered the fountain of youth and kept it only for herself!? I’m envious!

2. When she said nothing at all


Nonetheless, Jun Ji-hyun always proves to us that she isn’t just a ridiculously pretty face but also an enormously talented actress in every project that she does, and her performance in The Thieves is a clear proof of it. To me, her facial expressions in this movie say it all even before she delivers her lines.

3. When she flew even without wings


But what made her portrayal of a hustler burglar in The Thieves a little more special are her heart-stopping action stunts. The scenes where she climbed up the side of tall buildings in a harness, and also when she jumped off the rooftop and flew through the air are too daring you’ll be on the edge of your seat.

4. When she took noona romance to the next level


Did you know? Even before Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun captured our hearts in the hit K-Drama My Love from the Star (2013-2014), they first displayed oozing chemistry here in The Thieves. This despite the fact that their characters didn’t share mutual feelings for each other as Zampano (Kim Soo-hyun) is the only one in love with Yenicall (Jun Jin-hyun). I’m telling you, you have to see their hot, hot, hot kissing scene!

5. When she’s all dressed to kill


Jun Ji-hyun’s stylish wardrobe all throughout the film also deserves a mention in this movie review. The Hallyu star opted to wear mostly sexy, body-fitting numbers that accentuated her slim figure and long legs—assets that she usually uses to carry out a disguise. I particularly love the white Chanel suit that she used in the opening scene of the movie, which she partnered with an oversized black hat (right photo still). So posh!

Truly, Jun Ji-hyun delivered yet another stellar performance in The Thieves, making her one of the many reasons that put this heist movie on top. 4/5

~All the credit for the photo stills used in this movie review goes to Showbox/Mediaplex.

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