Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, and many more from Mark Twain’s literary masterpieces are brought into the contemporary world in the new comedy adventure, Band of Robbers. This modern-day band, with motivation from de facto leader Tom Sawyer, is still looking for adventure, glory, and a fabled treasure that will naturally draw them in over their heads. With a pretty distinguished (or at least familiar) cast, this is a respectable endeavor to update the classic characters and their new adventure will likely charm or amuse just about any audience; even more so if that audience remembers reading the original stories.
As the movie starts, Huck Finn (Kyle Gallner; 2010’s Elm Street, Beautiful Creatures, Smallville’s version of The Flash) is just getting out of prison and looking to settle into an easy uneventful life. But, his lifelong friend Tom Sawyer (Adam Nee, who also co-wrote and co-directed the film with his brother), now a cop with limited responsibilities, has the exact opposite ideas in mind. Tom recruits Huck and a couple other friends, Joe Harper (Matthew Gray Gubler; Criminal Minds, Suburban Gothic) and Ben Rogers (Hannibal Buress; Daddy’s Home, 30 Rock), to rob a pawn shop where they believe a legendary treasure is being kept.
Literally none of their plan proceeds correctly thanks to a series of somewhat comical gaffes and twists; including Tom finally getting more responsibilities that morning in the form of an ambitious new rookie partner named Becky Thatcher (Melissa Benoist; Supergirl, Glee). Despite trying to abort, Tom is forced to struggle through the plan with his new partner in tow and his band barely gets away with “pocket change”. But they can’t just split that and walk away now; that wouldn’t make a very good movie, would it?
The band has a trail indirectly leading back to them and they determine that a presumably worthless trinket acquired during the robbery might actually be a map to the real treasure. Along the way, they have to deal with Tom’s determined new partner and “Injun Joe” (a nearly unrecognizable Stephen Lang; Avatar, Terra Nova, many others) and his less amateurish crew who are also out to retrieve the lost treasure.
While the characters and settings have been reimagined, there is plenty of allusions for fans of the books. The biggest imagery that I remember is Tom getting others to paint a fence; I won’t spoil where, but that reference makes a humorous appearance somewhere in the film. Even without the Mark Twain connection, I enjoyed this movie and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys comedic adventures.