Den of Thieves    review by Bobby Blakey

I love gritty crime thrillers when they pull no punches and try and take it in new directions. The latest, Den of Thieves looks like it might still be some familiar territory, but could end up being a great entry into this genre. It sports a great cast including Gerard Butler, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Oshea Jackson Jr., Pablo Schreiber and Brian van Holt, but does it back up the gritty cool nature of the trailer or will it fail to pull off the heist?

Den of Thieves follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and the state's most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. This is one of those films that I actually enjoyed, but was not the film I was hoping for. The trailers tease a gritty action flick and while there is some really great action it is more focused on the planning and execution of the big heist as well as the cops trying to solve the case. Had they focused just on these elements the film would have been a bit more streamlined and worked a whole lot better.

Clearly they were trying to give more depth to the characters and offers up some decent and sometimes amusing scenes they were really unnecessary to the bigger picture. Gerard Butler has the biggest side story that looks to showcase his hostilities, attitude and problems, but all of this was already pretty clear with the interaction of the other officers. Everyone in the cast are good in their roles, but I was happy to see Oshea Jackson Jr. get the most depth of them all. His character is the most interesting despite not getting a lot to do on the surface.

While there isn’t as much action as I had hoped, it does kick start the film on a high note with a great sequence and wraps things up with an even bigger one. When the action is on it’s is excellent there just isn’t enough for what I had expected. Most of the film is pretty predictable, but the lack of that line of good and bad makes it all the more interesting. There is a good twist at the ending that you might see coming, but still works to elevate the film above what it would have been otherwise.

In the end this is far from a perfect film, but it does offer up that gritty coolness that fans of the genre. If you like the cast or just these kinds of films then give it a try and decide for yourself, just separate the action and let it be what it is. In addition to the film this release includes bonus content including an alternate ending, outtakes and deleted scenes, commentary, featurettes and both the theatrical and unrated versions of the film.

 

Get in on this game of cat and mouse with Den of Thieves available now on Digital, Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Home Entertainment.

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