The Moon Thieves review: Cantopop stars can look out of place in this chaotic horology heist

Members of the band Mirror make up youthful ensemble in this throwaway entertainment

The Moon Thieves
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Director: Steve Yuen
Cert: 12A
Genre: Action
Starring: Anson Lo, Edan Lui, Louis Cheung, Michael Ning, Keung To
Running Time: 1 hr 48 mins

The 12-strong Cantopop sensation Mirror are so popular in their native Hong Kong that, in 2021, an online support group called My Wife Married Mirror and Left Our Marriage in Ruins attracted 300,000 members. Next month, We 12, an “idol comedy” featuring all the members of Guangzhou’s answer to the K-pop juggernaut BTS, will open across Asian multiplexes.

In the meantime, a selection of the band are on offer in this chaotic horology heist.

Loi Bo Watch Company is a respected emporium with a dark knack for stealing and counterfeiting. It is a front for the murderous mobster known as Uncle (Keung To), who threatens and cajoles a crew into his plans for a big score.

Together, a bespectacled watchmaking boffin (Edan Lui), a skilled thief (Louis Cheung), a safecracking wizard (Anson Lo) and an explosives specialist (Michael Ning) make their way to Tokyo with plans to replace three watches that belonged to Pablo Picasso with counterfeits. All the while, Edan Lui’s fashioner of Frankenwatches is dreaming of another timepiece: the fabled watch worn by Buzz Aldrin during the moon landing.


Pitched somewhere between ditsier Hong Kong 1990s action flicks and Steven Soderbergh’s Oceans films, The Moon Thieves – unconvincingly styled as The Moon Thi4v3s – has fun with locks and watch mechanics.

Yusuke Hatano’s pacy score jollies along the double and triple crosses and a mid-credits comeuppance scene. Even in this throwaway entertainment, the youthful ensemble can look out of place, as if a casting director got their picks for Bullet in the Head and Degrassi Junior High mixed up. Lo and Lui are charming. But no matter how he scowls and swaggers, the cherubic-looking Keung To would be better utilised in a nativity play.

The Moon Thieves opens on Friday, February 23rd

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic