The Code Review

Apple must love there is an iPhone app to help jewel thieves break into a heavily secured vault. Of course, that would have to be a vault without any human guards, just a bunch of electronics and laser beams.

But hey, there’s an app for that.

That app will help professional thief Morgan Freeman and (suspected) thief Antonio Banderas break into a vault to take back a Russian mafia’s prized possession, although as with any heist movie, it is never that easy. The Code, or by its far better original title, Thick as Thieves, is a light-hearted farce that has a good time with itself, if not with the audience.

Some rather unatural dialogue such as Banderas stating, “I only watch heist movies,” let the audience into this quirky world and make the numerous plot holes bearable. None of this will be taken seriously, and the twists are nothing special. The film moves far too quickly without any natural sense of pacing to think everything is running smoothly.

A romance between Banderas and Radha Mitchell is fine for what it is, and does contribute to the story on a couple of levels. It adds more than the cheaply done green-screen opening, which loses the film a few points from the start.

When the twists start coming, much of what the audience saw feels wasted. This is where the plot holes come into play, and even the limited credibility The Code establishes is strained. Still, it does make you ponder things for a moment, even if you’ll realize the movie is straining for some revelations to create a tense finale.

Writer Ted Humphrey makes his first appearance in a non-made for TV production, and tries to pay homage to the classic heist films, but seems to over think things in the end.

There is not an app to help with that.

Movie ★★☆☆☆ 

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With exception of some noise problems around the 35 minute mark (and intentionally during flashbacks) and some occasional softness, this is a striking AVC encode. Detail is superb, capturing outstanding facial textures. Sharpness is routinely high with the above mentioned softness briefly spoiling the fun.

A brief and undoubtedly intentional contrast spike during a deal between thieves is acceptable. Contrast is otherwise naturally bright, and colors are well saturated. Black levels are rich and create a satisfying depth.

Video ★★★★☆ 

Lacking any real action aside from the opening sequence, this TrueHD mix is left to handle mostly ambient audio. It does fine. Inside a club, the music throbs on the low end and nicely envelopes the viewer. Scenes in the subway nicely track the trains as they pass, and while Banderas hangs onto the top of a subway car, the various objects it passes whiz through the sound field properly. Perfectly adequate if nothing more.

Audio ★★★☆☆ 

Extras are brief beginning with cast interviews that retell the plot and describe their characters. A behind the scenes featurette offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective to the shoot. Not enough discs have features like this. Some trailers for Blu-ray discs, oddly in standard def, remain.

Extras ★★☆☆☆ 

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