<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Christian Gudegast. Starring Gerard Butler, Pablo Schrieber, O’Shea Jackson Jr., 50 Cent, Evan Jones
Running time: 2 hours 20 minutes
For all those who want an example of a bad film, that’s badly acted and directed, here it is.
I can’t tell you how torturous it was sitting through this extremely long and tiresome film. Apart from the fact that the plot is derivative and convoluted, the acting is over-the-top, testosterone-filled and painful. The thick accents and heavy American-gangster lingo don’t help.
Los Angeles is the bank robbery capital of the world. So, of course, this is a movie about bank robbers lead by former military guy Ray Merriman (Pablo Schrieber) trying to pull off the ultimate heist. And a team of special cops lead by ‘Big Nick’ (Gerard Butler) who try and stop them. This they do very badly indeed with a show of bravado and machismo that makes you want to puke. They’re the bad guys, they say. And they’re not lying. The bad guys actually have more going on for them than this bunch.
Butler grunts and guffaws his way through the film earning none of our admiration or sympathy: Admiration for his super cop skills or sympathy for his broken marriage, which he caused by sleeping around with hookers and neglecting his family. He even sleeps with the bad guy’s wife and then casually passes him out the door of the house. Makes zero sense.
There is no surprise factor as far as the ultimate goal of the heist is concerned. The bad guys are allowed to pull off the entire caper without being stopped by the cops who simply ‘survey’ the situation because apparently a crime hasn’t been committed. Really? Then there’s a shootout amidst several dozen innocent civilians that crosses the bounds of believability. And the finale twist is so formula and unoriginal that you couldn’t care less.
Pablo Schrieber plays his part with icy cool confidence and is the only one in the film that really stands out. The rest are your boilerplate macho American dudes with guns and abs. It’s become so formula to see these ‘crews’ of men in Hollywood war/cop films now, they all just merge into one big heap of banal muscle tissue.
Just writing this review of Den of Thieves makes me sick. It’s everything a movie shouldn’t be and managed to make me seriously dislike Gerard Butler.