Ladron que Roba a Ladron (2007) / Comedy-Thriller
aka To Rob a Thief
MPAA Rated: PG-13 for some violence, sexual content and language
Running Time: 98 min.
Cast: Fernando Colunga, Miguel Varoni, Julie Gonzalo, Gabriel Soto, Ivonne Montero, Saul Lizazo, Soya Smith
Director: Joe Menendez
Screenplay: JoJo Henrickson
Review published October 7 , 2015
Set in Los Angeles. Ladron que Roba a Ladron (translation, a thief who steals from a thief) is a crime caper about a couple of con men, Alejandro (Colunga, "Love Rules") and Emilio (Varoni, Mi abuelo mi papi y yo), who concoct a plan to steal millions of dollars from a big-time scam artist named Moctesuma (Lisazo, The Perfect Dictatorship), who has amassed a small fortune that he keeps in a vault in his mansion. Moctesuma had targeted gullible, mostly Latino immigrants to scam by his disingenuous and misleading ads on Spanish-language TV -- mostly involving remedies for baldness, impotence, weight loss, and even cures for terminal illness -- and the two thieves recruit some of these immigrants to assist them in a grand heist of the millionaire to try to recoup that money from the people he ripped off.
Ladron feels very much like a derivative, Spanish-language version of Hollywood comedy capers like Oceans Eleven and The Italian Job, except with more emphasis on comedy and less on the thriller or action aspects. It definitely seems to be targeting the people it portrays -- mostly Latino immigrants who live in the United States who primarily watch Spanish-language television shows full of sitcom comedy situations exactly like the one in the film.
Though it's a film about a big-time heist, the direction by Joe Menendez (The Brittany Murphy Story, 3 Holiday Tails) feels more like a made-for-TV effort, both in concept and execution. A good-looking TV-ready cast (many who have made careers appearing in telenovelas) and an amiable tone helps this farce go down easy, but it's marginal goods at best, and largely forgettable once it's all over due to its inherent lack of original material. If it steals most of its ideas from Oceans Eleven, just as Oceans Eleven itself stole from the heist films of the 1960s, then the title is fitting.
©2015 Vince Leo