Ladron que roba a Ladron (To Rob a Thief) Made in: USA Language: Spanish Director: Joe Menendez Starring: Fernando Colunga, Miguel Varoni, Saúl Lisazo, Ivonne Montero, Julie Gonzalo, Ruben Garfias Year: 2007
Synopsis: This movie was produced in the US, so it isn't technically foreign from the perspective of the American entertainment industry. However, the film's entirely in Spanish and aimed squarely at the growing hispanic population in America (which is reflective of a trend worthy of it's own article).
So rather than nitpick as to whether or not it should be included on this site, I'll go ahead with the review because I spent about 98 minutes of my life sitting through it (and feel like posting more content).
Ladron que roba a Ladron is a heist movie that's in a similar vein with Ocean's 11. And yes, I left out the little accent mark over the 'o' in ladrón because as of now, search engines have a tough time recognizing those things.
The story's about a Colombian named Emilio Lopez (Miguel Varoni), a guy who wants to get revenge on former partner Moctesuma Valdez (Saúl Lisazo). Moctesuma is an Argentine who has amassed a fortune selling products on TV informercials.
Valdez has ripped off millions of people by selling items that don't work, like weight-loss creams and magical wristbands said to cure arthritis. I suppose they could have simply filed a lawsuit against the guy, but then the movie probably wouldn't have been as interesting.
Emilio partners up with his pal and fellow Colombian, Alejandro (Fernando Colunga). The plan is to assemble a crew to sneak into Moctesuma's LA mansion and steal the oodles of cash that's hidden away in an underground safe. With their regular crew of professional thieves unavailable, Emilio and Alejandro are forced to enlist the help of immigrants and day laborers.
The ragtag group includes a valet (Ruben Garfias), his rough-around-the-edges daughter, Rafaela (Ivonne Montero), an over-muscled meat-head (Gabriel Soto), an unstable Cuban actor (Oscar Torres), and the nanny of Moctesuma's own son (Julie Gonzalo).
The intricate plan is put into action, but is seasoned con man Moctesuma Valdez able to sniff out the actions of fellow thieves?
The Good: Overall, Ladron que roba a Ladron is focused, entertaining, and well-paced. A lot of the twists are pretty clever, and the plot is well thought-out. It's got an upbeat, positive message in the end and is a moderate load of harmless fun.
The Bad: With the exception of Saúl Lisazo (who looks like a latin cross between George Clooney and Sean Hannity), the acting is pretty bad. It's not downright awful, but it's enough to significantly hinder the movie by being self-indulgent.
The characters, each of whom has a specific skill and personality, try too hard to remind you who they are. And too often, they ham things up too much in order to make you laugh. At best, it's marginally amusing. At worst, it'll make you wonder if you accidentally rented a kid's movie.
Who would like this film: I suppose this one was meant for fans of slick heist stories and Spanish language movies. But due to the quality of the acting, I'll tell you to stay away from this one. It's a shame too, because the overall plot execution is solid and the story elements are all in place for some serious comedy/satire.
Most negative reviews I've written had to do with the story or plot, while actors have largely been given a pass. But this is one of the rare instances when the acting drags down an otherwise well-written, well-directed movie. It's the cinematic equivalent of being served a high-quality, tasty hamburger...while knowing it's been dropped on the floor.