#REVIEW: “DEN OF THIEVES”
Review by Justin Waldman for Mr. Will Wong
Christian Gudegast makes his directorial debut after some success writing Action Movies (A Man Apart and London Has Fallen). He wrangles together some amazing talent in this intense, fun Heist-Thriller Den of Thieves.
We learn right away that every 48 minutes somewhere in Los Angeles a bank is robbed. The Film then proceeds to show us our first robbery, which has our outlaws led by Merriman (Pablo Schreiber), Bosco (Evan Jones), Donnie (O’Shea Jackson Jr.), and Levi (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson). This elite quartet steal an armoured money truck, escaping the pursuit of the L.A. County Sheriffs Department. Nick (Gerard Butler), Benny (Maurice Compte), and Tony (Kaiwi Lyman) have to wrap their heads around the thieves’ next steps.
After a successive string of hits, the chase is not big enough for four robbers. Merriman wants to try the impossible and rob the Federal Reserve. Yes we’ve seen this before, but the execution behind this outing feels brand new. Den of Thieves on paper is a typical Heist Movie, but the build-up is exceptionally-enthralling and the performances are a cut above.
Pablo Schreiber who arguably is the lead in the Film, does an incredible job at portraying the Danny Ocean-like mastermind of the thieves. He is manipulative and alluring. O’Shea Jackson Jr. who also has a significant role, plays Donnie well and because of his performance, the Film is able to be something no one ever saw coming. Gerard Butler channels his inner Arnold Schwarzenegger, adding bulk in this role at times seeming a caricature of every ’80s Action Star and last but certainly not least, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson proves he is just as talented a Rapper as he is an Actor.
Den of Thieves goes beyond standard genre fare, it is even more daring and dare we say, sets a new standard.
VVS Films release Den of Thieves Friday January 19, 2018.