Den of Thieves is a new hyper-masculine heist film full of bad bank robbers and even worse (yet not crooked) cops. It’s a film where every man is muscle-bound, hyper-aggressive and so full of testosterone its leaking out their ears (unless they wear a suit in which case they are terrorized by the swinging dicks of the Type A macho men).
Set in LA, it’s a film that focuses on a group of bank robbers planning a heist of the federal reserve. The crew includes O’Shea Jackson and 50 Cent among other jacked-up men and their muscles. The hyper-aggressive cops are lead by an even more jacked-up Gerard Butler in full on beardo “This is Sparta” mode. Butler seems to have been born for this role….all credit due, he plays a good sociopathic alleged good guy with guns on his arms and in his hands.
The film is an inexplicably long 2hrs 20min and it kind of feels it. It doesn’t drag so much as circle in place a lot… I kept wanting it to get itself in gear. There’s a lot of crooks planning heists, cops trying to figure out what the crooks are doing, and a getaway driver (O’Shea Jackson) trying to survive both sides. The film is arguably Gerard Butler’s but Jackson has the meatier role.
In between the bleeding machismo, the film takes random and isolated moments to give us family moments for a few of these guys. These scenes could have been cut from the movie without loss. They tend to make these Hulking men look bad as their marriages fall apart or they terrorize their daughter’s date for the prom. These aren’t bad scenes but they feel like they are remnants from an even longer script where more time was spent on friends and family. In that they remain, they feel out of place.
Overall, this movie doesn’t concern itself too much with plot beyond the heist and cops and robbers shtick. In that manner… in the details of the heist and the daytime gun-battles throughout LA, it’s not a bad movie, especially if you like Tough Guy flicks that sneer at emotional depth or character. It kind of feels like it really wants to be Heat. If you want more… or, hell, even less, the movie doesn’t deliver. But maybe it delivers enough macho posturing, shoot outs, and heists to waste a lazy Sunday… if you are into that sort of thing.