Stander (2003)

It is very random that I am at home, and I turn on the cable (after dusting it off, of course) and browse the movie channels we pay for and never use. With no rhyme or reason, I clicked on a movie called Stander. I didn’t even know what it was about, but it was 20 minutes in, and I said, why not. 

I was quite impressed with the mock biography about one of South Africa’s most notorious bank robbers, Andre Stander, played by Thomas Jane. I wasn’t even sure what to think about his character because he had just gotten arrested and was headed to jail. 

The movie catches fire as Stander escapes from prison and then recruits his buddies to go on a wild spree of robbing banks. The best part of the story is Stander used to be an outstanding officer in the Johannesburg police department. 

Although I initially had didn’t have much interest in the film and wanted it to just the fill the background, however watching Stander and the “Stander Gang” change their appearances to rob more banks was too good to turn away from. The story worked flawlessly because these events happened before technology was all the rage. 

Stander had inside knowledge of how his former co-workers would conduct their investigations, so that allowed him and the guys to stay one or two steps ahead. These guys were so confident in their robberies that they didn’t even wear masks or anything, just altered their appearances with wigs, glasses, and facial hair. 

Of course like many other criminals, once you become a household name, you begin to attract outsiders to your group by big purchases and the lavish lifestyle. Sadly one of the gang’s flings was the domino to fall. After that, it the cops finally caught their break and finally caught up to the gang. 

I was a tad bit disappointed in how the movie ended. As pointed out earlier, I was intrigued by this guy so I did more research before I wrote this review. Stander didn’t die like depicted in the movie, but given the actual way he met his demise, I understand how they went about it. 

When I looked the movie up on IMDb and RottenTomatoes, it was clear that I wasn’t the only who enjoyed it. 7/10


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