Den of Theives
Jacob Richardson | 07/02/2018
Den of Thieves is literally exactly what you expect from a Gerard Butler, 50-Cent two hander.
Merriman (Pablo Schreiber) is a bank-robbing mastermind on LA’s streets. He’s fresh out of prison and looking for a big score, and to do so connects with a young driver named Donnie Wilson (O’Shea Jackson), and his longtime friend Enson Levoux (Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson). However, when they decide to rob the Federal Reserve Bank, they don’t realise that Gerard Butlers’ hard-drinking, hard-partying cop ‘Big Nick’ is on their tale, with his rabble of poor decision-making cops in tow.
Gerard Butler is a great actor. But he picks such sub-par material to work with that he gets lost in amongst the poor scripts, the point and shoot directors, the terrible characterisation decisions and the bad CGI in almost every one of them. As your literal bog-standard cops v robbers heist film, this eschews many of those pitfalls (particularly around CGI), but it still suffers from the same script problems, the same lacklustre action scenes, and the same terrible character decisions.
Butler is served up to us chomping on a donut that he found at a crime scene. Apart from being done a million times before, and better every single one of those times, it’s also a direct rip from the TV show Psych, which is pretty much the best descriptor of this entire film.
But it doesn’t stop there, because over the course of the film director Christian Gudegast insists on ramming home the anti-hero characterisation, like two ice hockey players slamming into the side of the rink. It’s an all-out assault as Butler has sex with prostitutes, loses his family, visits a strip club and, worst of all, drinks milk straight out of the carton.
Meanwhile, the rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better. O’Shea Jackson does his best, and he’s an incredible actor. His dedication to the b-grade material he is given here is admirable. Meanwhile, 50 Cent seems intent on grumbling his way through every line as if it’s the first time he read the script, and his advancing age is affecting his eyesight so that he just can’t quite make out all of the words.
Den of Thieves is serviceable, and some of the action is done nicely. But it’s also been done before; better, with better acting, better dialogue, better action and more artistic license. There is absolutely no reason to watch this. You should watch Sicario instead.
One wishes Den of Thieves was 4D, so that a stray bullet could take you out early in the piece.