The Thieves Plot Summary
The Thieves aka Dodookdeul is a 2012 South Korean movie, by writer-director Choi Dong-hoon. It is a light-hearted caper in the guise of a heist movie and the tenth highest-grossing film in South Korean film history. It stars popular Korean names like Kim Yoon-seok, Lee Jung-jae, Kim Hye-soo, Jun Ji-hyun and Kim Soo-hyun.
It follows the Thieves consisting of Pepsee, Popie, Yenicall, Chewinggum and Zampano who are called to join a blockbuster heist led by the legendary thief, Macao Park. Their mission, to steal the priceless diamond, ‘Tear of the Sun’ comes with more risks than they can count as it belongs to a dangerous gangster.
Why are the Thieves initially hesitant to take on the job?
The Thieves realize it’s a dangerous mission as the owner of the diamond is a wealthy lady called Madame Tiffany, the step-sister of the informant. She also happens to be the mistress of the powerful crime lord, Wei Hong. No one knows his identity or what he looks like except that he has a butterfly tattoo on his right hand and a fearsome reputation. No person who has crossed him has lived to tell the tale. And very few people alive have actually met him.
Chen, the senior Chinese member of the gang is especially disturbed. But their leader, Macao Park says that they could get a return of about $20 million. So, the Thieves decide that the reward outweighs the risk and agree to take on the job.
Do Chen and Macao Park have a history with Wei Hong?
Macao Park and Chen are amongst the few people who have met the dreaded gangster. In a flashback, we see that Chen and his partner had initially stolen the ‘Tear of the Sun’. They are trying to fence it to Wei Hong but when Chen’s partner refuses Wei Hong’s offer, he is promptly shot dead. A terrified Chen quickly hands the loot to Wei Hong who throws a pittance at him whilst walking away.
The whole act is witnessed by the partner’s young kid who is hiding under the bed. That kid turns out to be Macao Park who sees his father being murdered by Wei Hong. So for Macao Park, it is more than an act of revenge – he wants to steal back the diamond that Wei Hong killed his father for.
What goes wrong with the robbery?
Macao Park puts together a dysfunctional unit with the Korean and Chinese teams being suspicious of each other. Even within the Korean team, everyone wants to outmanoeuvre the other. Popie wants to pocket the loot for himself and places an order for a fake replica of the diamond. And Yenicall, not to be outdone, obtains her own replica to replace the original diamond.
Chen decides not to bother about the diamond and instead focuses on stealing Tiffany’s huge pile of cash. Julie, the Chinese safe-cracker is actually an undercover cop in the Hong Kong Police Force whose aim is to use Macao Park to get to Wei Hong.
When the robbery takes place, Chen and Chewinggum pose as a Japanese couple, keeping Tiffany busy at the gambling table. Yenicall with Zampano’s help, wire-walks up to Tiffany’s suite and opens the door for Popie, Pepsee and Julie. They manage to crack open the two safes only to discover, to their dismay, that there’s no diamond.
Meanwhile, Chen brandishes his gun, holds up the casino, steals a huge amount of cash and along with Chewinggum, makes a run for it. A shootout takes place in which the two thieves hijack a car and drive off. Unfortunately, Chen is fatally wounded and dies, and Chewinggum is killed in the car crash. The rest, except Macao Park, Yenicall and Johnny are arrested.
How does Macao Park steal the diamond?
Turns out the entire operation was a diversion. The two safes in Tiffany’s suite are a decoy and the diamond is stored in the casino safe box in the strong room. The old, wizened janitor/waiter, who is carting the food around, and who smuggles the guns inside is none other than Macao Park in disguise. He reaches the casino’s strong room under the pretence of a food order.
Just then, gang members Andrew and Johnny muscle their way into the security room at gunpoint and shut down the central power and the security cameras. Immediately all exits are sealed. And the old man is told that he can’t leave the casino’s strong room, as per security protocol. So while all are waiting for the cops, the old man, surreptitiously cracks open the vault, grabs the diamond and dunks it in the soup.
Later Julie, the undercover cop going through the CCTV footage, figures that the old janitor was in fact, Macao Park. She puts a tail on him with instructions not to apprehend him but to follow him to the real target, Wei Hong.
How do the Thieves find Macao Park?
The survivors of Macao’s gang, i.e. Popie, Pepsee, Yenicall and Andrew manage to escape the cops and team up. They return to Hong Kong to look for Macao Park. They start by trying to search for Tiffany’s step-sister, the aristocratic lady who had come in a Rolls-Royce and given them the mission in the first place.
They check out car rental companies and manage to trace her to the Busan Grand Hotel. It turns out that the lady is a con woman, working for Macao Park. They threaten to kill her pet poodle if she doesn’t comply. The woman acquiesces and gives them info on Macao Park. They put a wiretap on her, instruct her to meet Macao Park and find out where he’s hidden the diamond or else the dog dies.
What happens during the final confrontation?
Macao Park hides the diamond in a rental apartment in Busan. He then calls Wei Hong to personally come to Busan with $10 million for the diamond — a sure-shot formula to tick off the gangster.
Meanwhile, the Busan and Hong Kong Police, hot on Macao Park’s tail, have surrounded the area, waiting for Wei Hong to show up. When the Thieves reach the area, Popie is shocked to see his old nemesis, a Korean detective and realizes that the area is crawling with undercover cops.
The Thieves send Andrew to sabotage the building elevator and soon, Popie, Pepsee and Yenicall show up as the elevator-repair personnel and enter the building. Pepsee then manages to break into the apartment where the diamond is hidden. As per the plan, the con woman meets Macao Park and chats with him, while the rest of the Thieves are tuned to the conversation.
Pepsee switches on the light in Macao Park’s apartment and suddenly discovers the diamond in the chandelier. But then something else happens. It’s during the chat between Macao Park and the woman that Pepsee realizes that it was Macao Park who saved her from drowning earlier. Moreover, Park doesn’t bear any grudge against her, since he knows that it was Popie who was responsible for the cable break and she had no hand in it.
Pepsee is shocked by the revelation of Popie’s treachery. She breaks the light switch, plunging the room back into darkness and walks out, shutting the door behind her. Yenicall, by then reads Pepsee’s body language and realises what is happening. She enters the apartment from the window and with a stroke of luck, discovers the real diamond. She quickly replaces it with the replica and disappears up the AC vent, seconds before Wei Hong’s goons enter the place.
How does it end for Wei Hong?
Macao Park reaches the ferry terminal where he sees Pepsee, but then he also sees Wei Hong enter the terminal behind her, looking for him. He vanishes out of sight, enters a lift and reaches the first floor. By then Julie, the undercover cop arrives, sees Pepsee and brandishes her gun to arrest her. Wei Hong is nearby searching for Macao Park, but no one around has a clue that there is a dreaded killer in their midst.
Macao Park figures that if Wei Hong realizes that Pepsee is part of the gang, then he might shoot both Pepsee and Julie without hesitation. From the first-floor gallery, he calls out to Wei Hong. The latter, oblivious to Julie, sees Macao Park and starts firing at him.
Julie suddenly realizes that the crime lord she’s been after all these years, is standing beside her. She calls out to Wei Hong to surrender. In a show of defiance, he raises his gun. Julie executes him and in the chaos, Pepsee flees.
Who finally gets the diamond?
Pepsee returns to her hideout, where she sees a car at her disposal with the boot containing gold bullion from 4 years ago. She realizes that her benefactor is none other than Macao Park. A few weeks later, Pepsee heads for Hong Kong. On the flight, she is befriended by the curator of the Lee-Sung Art Gallery and coincidentally Yenicall’s ex-fiancée.
She goes to a luxury hotel where Yenicall has been staying for a while with the diamond in her possession. The cat burglar is taken aback to see Pepsee since the two women hate each other. Pepsee tells her that she can give her the fence list and that she has brought a rich friend along. Yenicall is shocked to see her ex-fiancée and jumps into the pool to avoid being seen.
While Yenicall is hiding in the pool, an old gentleman pays for Yenicall’s hotel bills and takes possession of all her belongings including the diamond. That old gentleman is Macao Park who gets the diamond and finally reunites with Pepsee.