Rated: R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: January 19, 2018 Released by: STX Entertainment
"Den of Thieves" is more about Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler) than the group of thieves, the FBI, the LA County sheriff's department and the robbery of the federal reserve bank in Los Angeles.
The robbery of large banks with a great deal of money are usually filled with clear well though out planning sessions and a smooth path that fools those in charge of security wether it works or not the plotting is a large part of the success of the script. Here there is an interesting plot, although it is similar the Queen Latifah's "Mad Money" the idea is a good one that should be interesting.
With that in mind writer, Christian Gudegast chooses to spend most of the film's time on the problems of Flanagan (Butler) who is constantly in conflict with everyone else in the film. Even with his own team of LA sheriffs he is argumentative, he battles with his wife and doesn't understand why she leaves him when he comes home at six in the morning without an explanation. Working with the FBI appears to be alien to his DNA and he yells and curses at the federal cops never attempting to reach a decision as to how to work together.
Butler's lone wolf character is the center of the film and of course he is the only law enforcement officer to come up with an understanding of how the bad guys are about to seal thirty-million dollars from the federal reserve bank. He even knows who the crooks are and he knows just when to follow them and how to get under their skin.
So far too often we find ourselves listening to banter between the characters and watching Butler smoking and drinking while feeling sorry for himself at losing his family. It never occurs to him that his self centered lifestyle is his personal problem, as it is a problem for the film.
O'Shea Jackson, Jr. is Donnie who plays both sides and is the smart one in the plot, he is the most interesting character the film has to offer, but it's not enough.
The climatic shoot out is ridiculous in content. While stopped in freeway traffic the two sides battle with automatic weapons over and through five to ten cars stuck between them. Wild man Flanagan is perfectly ready to have the gun battle with citizens sitting between both sides and in danger of being killed.
Most of the time "Den of Thieves" lies flat as we watch Flanagan's smoking and suffering from his self centered life style rather than being a heroic cop.
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