1.25 out of 10
It’s generally a good idea when you are making a documentary about a specific topic to actually talk about that topic. “Smash & Grab” is about 90 minutes long and probably discusses the Pink Panthers for about 15 of those minutes. The story is told mostly through anonymous, animated characters that represent real Panthers. These people were interviewed but wanted to hide their identities. All of that is fine, but for the most part, they just talk about their personal lives and things they did or saw.
“Smash & Grab” is a slow, dull documentary that doesn’t even focus on the subject matter.
Any spoilers will be clearly marked so you can avoid reading them if you so choose.
“Smash & Grab: The Story of the Pink Panthers” opens in Washington D.C. on August 23, 2013.
There are a few interesting statistics and some decent surveillance footage that shows the value of the items these infamous thieves have stolen and just how good they are at what they do.
This film should have been titled “Smash & Grab: The History of Yugoslavia”. The vast majority of this film is dedicated to the history of Yugoslavia and the countries and territories that have developed in that area. The filmmakers also go into great detail about the civil wars and infighting that have plagued that area for the past 30 years. All of this is because the Pink Panthers are believed to have come from this area. As the fighting got bad many people turned to crime and fled the countries. Ok, so we know where the Panthers come from. Let’s move on and talk about how skilled they are and what it will take to catch such experienced thieves.
You would think that would be what the filmmakers do. Nope. The film just goes on and on and on about Yugoslavia, Serbia, leadership and civil unrest. It’s as if the movie forgot what it was about and then at the end was like, “Um, where was I…oh yes, the Pink Panthers”, and finally gives the audience some relevant information.
There are two main interviewees featured in “Smash & Grab”, a man and a woman. They are both animated to hide their identities and the film explains how some of these characters also use voice actors. It is unclear whether it was the questions asked by the interviewer, or if these two individuals just felt like telling their life stories, but all we got from them was where they grew up, when they met certain people, how they got into the Panthers, etc. Only near the very end do they describe what they did as part of the crew and described one of the more complicated heists.
The Bottom Line
All in all, the little payoff at the end with the story of the heist and the few pieces of surveillance footage are not worth the time it takes to watch this film. There just is not enough bang for your diamond. As far as documentaries go, this one ranks pretty low. The subject matter of the film is barely featured. And, it’s not like we’re expecting an action movie or some sort of caper thriller. We know this is an informative documentary. But, we get very little information from this movie. You will walk away knowing only slightly more than you did when you walked in. For me, I knew nothing of these thieves. I didn’t even know there was a group named after the films. But I walked away knowing just slightly more than nothing about them after watching “Smash & Grab”. Don’t waste your time with this one.