Den of Thieves (15) follows the most successful bank robbery crew in LA, led by Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), as they attempt to pull off an impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank, all while being pursued by hardened cop ‘Big Nick’ O’Brien (Gerard Butler) of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
Now I am seeing a lot of people saying this is a straight rip-off of Michael Mann’s 1995 heist movie Heat. I am yet to see that movie as it’s currently sitting, unopened, in my DVD collection, so I am going to review this as a movie, not a comparison.
This movie was awesome! It is a non-stop edge of your seat action thrill-ride with great acting and an entertaining twist. The movie is a slow-burn which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because the story is tense and suspenseful which kept me invested throughout.
Two years ago, we got star-studded heist thriller Triple 9, and while that film veered into ‘boring’ territory, Den of Thieves never does despite being almost half an hour longer. Clocking in a whopping 140 minutes, I was pleasantly surprised that it didn’t drag as much as I thought it would and that’s thanks to great acting and excellent action.
The action is handled brilliantly by first time director Christian Gudegast. The shoot-outs were the clear standouts. When the bullets start flying, they really fly. The sound design of these firefights was amazing, and each heart-pumping action sequence was well-shot.
Schreiber, along with his crew which consisted of O’Shea Jackson Jr and Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson, all give great performances. Butler was also very good, as usual, and the exchanges between Butler and Schreiber were very entertaining.
The heist itself was very complex which is what I always like to see because when the big reveal happens it makes you rethink the entire thing and go “ahhhhh I see what they did there”. It’s full of thrilling moments and all ends with a satisfying twist.
This film is nothing new in the crime-thriller genre and it’s full of cliché moments that are present in pretty much every heist movie. There are also some pointless scenes that don’t really add anything to the overall story and if cut, could have shaved minutes off the runtime. The ending is also ridiculously stupid and could have been removed.
There are also a number of moments that don’t make sense and I’ll try to avoid spoliers, but the shootout at the end endangers the lives of countless civilians, why would the cops allow that to happen?!
Also, there is testosterone-fuelled scene in a shooting range where we see Pablo Schreiber shoot four clips in rapid succession to form a perfect pattern around the heart, only to continuously miss most of his shots in the final fight!
Overall, I don’t see why critics are panning this film (currently at 40-percent on Rotten Tomatoes). It’s a tension-filled, action-packed, well-acted heist thriller that is entertaining throughout.