Den of Thieves
An armored truck pulls up to a doughnut shop in south Los Angeles. When the security guards come back to the vehicle they fid themselves surrounded by masked men with assault rifles. One guard reaches for his gun and is shot, and a shootout begins with the guards getting taken out, as well as arriving police officers, but so does one of the masked men. The crew flees with the truck, and back at their base leader Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) chews out Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr.) for shooting the guard. The next morning the Los Angeles Sheriff Department shows up, lead by Nick O’Brien (Gerard Butler) who is a giant dick to just about everybody. They start to piece things together once the dead shooter is IDed, and they realize it’s most likely Merrimen and his crew, who’ve they’ve been investigating. Nick goes to the bar Donnie works at, and kidnaps him to a police house where the rest of Nick’s team is holed up, ready to interrogate him. Donnie snitches about Merrimen, saying he’s only hired on to his crew to be a getaway driver. While he knows Merrimen is planning to rob he Federal Reserve by taking $30 million in old and slightly damaged bills that have become unmarked before being destroyed, Donnie keeps that from Nick, who finally lets him go. After a detour of Nick getting dumped by his wife, Nick starts to stalk the Merrimen crew a little closer. Meanwhile, Donnie is hired as a Chinese Food delivery guy, and goes to the Federal reserve to scope it out and leave a bag in the restroom that he’ll need for the planned heist. Meanwhile, at dinner with their ladies, Nick comes by and claims to know Donnie from the gym, which gets everyone suspicious. Merrimen and his sidekick Levi (50 Cent) interrogate Donnie, but Donnie insists he ain’t no snitch. Then the day of the heist comes and Merrimen and his crew gear up, as do Nick and his men, but the only thing is Merrimen and his guys hit up the Pico-Riveria Bank instead. What? Will they be able to pull off the heist and/or robbery?
Den of Thieves is two hours and twenty minutes long, which is about forty-five minutes too long, proving that the only thing that is being stolen is the audience’s time. There is needless banter between Nick and other cops in the beginning that could be cut. There’s his pointless marriage falling apart subplot that goes nowhere that could be cut. There’s a random scene with Levi sizing up his daughter’s dance date that could be cut. There’s another scene where Nick follows Merrimen into the shooting range and they blow each other metaphorically by shooting at targets that could be cut. There’s also lines here and there about Nick being an alcoholic that doesn’t go anywhere either that could be cut. There’s so much shit to cut, it’s confusing especially since STX is known to be penny pinchers and trying to reduce spending when they can — why were these scenes shot in the first place? Bloating aside, the movie is fairly standard cops and robbers facing off during the ultimate heist. The bank robbery decoy was obvious, and I think that’s the problem with the movie is it’s either really obvious or really random with “island” scenes with threads of subplots that don’t go anywhere. Gerard Butler tries way too hard and pretty much makes Nick unrootable, while O’Shea Jackson Jr. continues to be a great presence in any film he’s cast in. Overall, it’d be easier to recommend if the movie were only 90 minutes, but at over two hours better wait to catch this one at home, if that.