Den of Thieves, a thriller-action film that follows the lives of a band of robbers and the less than high-brow cops that pursue them, has all the elements of what fans of this genre enjoy. Big Guns, a daring plan, and the big finish. So what makes Den of Thieves any different?
The story opens with our band of thieves engaged in a bloody battle to steal an armored-truck orchestrated by crew chief Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), a highly-trained marine recently out of prison for robbery. With the deed complete, major crimes lead detective Nick (Gerard Butler) makes his first appearance as the less than stellar member of the force with his own dirty secrets but supreme crime solving I.Q.
Over the course of the next two hours and 20 minutes the master plan, a heist of the L.A. Federal Reserve branch with his den of partners from high school and jail is revealed in the painstaking fashion like every other bank robbery film. Thankfully the riveting performances of Schreiber and Butler make the step-by-step storytelling less than predictable and manage to interject moments of wry humor to break the tension. Where DoT does slightly go off script is by letting the law know exactly what’s going to happen. An interesting, and cocky twist, to the story.
Where DoT starts to go slightly left are the glimpses into the character’s lives, intended to personalize and endear them to viewers, that isn’t relative to the rest of the story. Thankfully those moments are few and far between and the action is placed right back front and center where it belongs. Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and O’Shea Jackson Jr. round out the talented cast with understated performances that are just as memorable as the high tensions face-offs between Butler and Schrieber.
In the end, the robbery happens but do they all get away? An intense showdown with a surprising ending and aftermath makes the film good but among the great robbery films of all time? A solid entry but nothing new to make it stand out atop the pack.
But you will enjoy the ride to the end.
BSO Grade: B
Rating: R, for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes