“Den of Thieves” stars Gerard Butler as a Los Angeles sheriff who is tracking down a successful robbery crew as they prepare to pull off one big heist in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank in L.A. and the movie follows both the robbery crew and the Sheriff’s department as their respective paths cross in the time leading up to the heist.
Starting this review off, I want to talk about how all of the performances in this movie were pretty solid. Gerard Butler is basically playing a grizzled, devil-may-care cop who just acts like an all-around dick to everyone in his life, but he’s clearly enjoying himself in the role, I can’t really fault him there. Honestly, all of the actors do a good job with their material. Pablo Schreiber and 50 Cent are both good in supporting roles as key robbers in the heist, but I was really impressed with O’Shea Jackson Jr.’s performance. This was his moment to show that he’s a legitimately good actor in his own right rather than just being good at playing his own dad in “Straight Outta Compton” and he nailed the role. There’s really not a fault to be had with any of the actors.
The bummer about this review is that it’s going to come off as eerily similar to my most recent review for “12 Strong”. The problem with that movie was that it had weak characters and it was willed with cliches belonging to its specific genre, despite it having well-filmed action scenes and strong performances. That’s very much so applicable to “Den of Thieves” as well. This movie does have some action scenes that are entertaining and competently filmed and like I already said, the acting is good, but there’s not much more to it than that.
For a crime thriller, there’s not much about it that stands out from a story perspective. It all boils down to being a poor man’s version of “Heat”, except “Den of Thieves” is no where near as compelling or tightly-written as that movie. The characters are very stock, there’s no twists or turns that you can’t see coming from a mile away, and it’s just an all-around generic heist movie.
The one thing about this movie that does stand out is the ending and how muddled it is. It’s suppose to come off as this “Gotcha” reveal, but it only succeeds in making the movie more convoluted and confusing. More than anything, the ending just feels like a really forced addition to what is already an overly-long story that could have had at least twenty minutes cut from a two hour and twenty minute film.
Short review, but that’s merely because I feel like I already reviewed this movie with “12 Strong”. There’s entertaining action and good performances, but the story is either too long or too cliched and the ending itself is a testament to how much the writers clearly wanted it to be this decade’s version of “Heat”, but they simply tried too hard. This is just a mediocre heist movie and I can’t send anyone rushing off to see it.