Den Of Thieves Review by Kush Hayes
Den of Thieves
Dir/Wri: Christian Gudegast
Starring: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’shea Jackson Jr, Curtis Jackson
**Spoiler Free, but my comparisons might ruin this if you’ve never seen a movie before**
What if we took Heat, but made it 40 mins shorter?
What if we took Heat and tacked on the ending to The Usual Suspects.
What if we took Point Break, but only focused on the heist?
What if we took Al Pacinos character and merged hims with Denzel Washingtons character in Training Day?
Well, give a pat on the back to the team who put together the trailer for Den of Thieves, the STX Films January release for 2018. The trailer for this movie details is nonstop action heist thriller featuring a hip-hop edge because it STARS 50 CENT!
Most of that statement is true. 50 Cent IS in it. It has action. It features a heist. There are scenes that are supposed to be thrilling if not a thriller, but its really more of cat and mouse game that's only kind of interesting because you like both actors but Im never invested in their characters.
I opened this saying its 40 mins shorter than Heat, but there's 30 mins of Gerard Butlers failing marriage that we just don't need. I know, they're trying to humanize him. But at no point is this character a good guy. He point blank says it in the trailer and the movie, he's a bad guy with a badge. And Gerard Butler plays a great son of a bitch in this. You get he is not only corrupt on the job, but corrupt in life as well. They build up his character to the point where I'm kind of surprised how his story ultimately ends.
Curtis Jackson through out that trailer is implied as having a much bigger role than he does.
One would think he's the leader of the bank robbers. He's not. Then when his character sets off the problems the crew has by killing a Armored Car Driver, which leads to killing a bunch of LAPD, one would think that he's the “hot head” of the group who is only going to continue to bring more problems to his crews objectives. He isnt and doesnt. His one big scene feels incredibly shoehorned in and can donate its 5 minutes to Butlers 30 mins. It is the funniest scene in the movie. But it goes nowhere. It has nothing to do with anything.
Pablo Schreiber is the leader of the crew. He delivers the lines on paper given to him. He makes his role as the group leader believable, but you ultimately don't care about his character. Or at least I didn't. And the guy next to me fell asleep multiple times. I feel like his presence is only because they couldn't get Jon Bernthal scheduled. As I reread that, that felt kind of mean. ‘I look forward to seeing more from Pablo Schreiber’ is the nicest thing I can say to counter.
O’Shea Jackson is solid in this movie. I have heard good things about him in Ingrid Goes West, although I haven't seen that. However it shows that he can do more than just impersonate his father. That's also probably the meanest thing you’ll hear about him. However if he keeps giving performances like this and in “Ingrid”, you will hear it less and less. His characters arch, Im not a big fan of what develops for him.
As you've been reading, a lot of my complaints are in the writing. The editing and pacing is to blame as well, but the majority of this is the writing. Christian Gudegast wrote and directed this. Its his directorial debut, but one of his previous credits include writing London has Fallen. While London has Fallen is inferior to Olympus has Fallen, once London does fall, its a pretty good action movie. We aren’t reviewing London has Fallen, we are talking Den of Thieves, and the action in this if good. Lots of booms and bangbangbangs while keeping the explosions to realistic minimums. There are some great scenes in this like where you enjoy the pissing contest playing out between Butler and Schreiber.
I imagine Gudegasts story probably went way deeper into the life of Butler and Schreibers characters, but frankly I’d have given this movie a better review if it were 30 mins tighter.
Den of Thieves would have been much better at 1h45m/1hr50m.
2 out of 6 blueberries.