"Don’t Let These Thieves Steal Your Money or Your Time"
What You Need To Know:
DEN OF THIEVES could have been a great action thriller. The cast is perfect, the tone is right, the action sequences intense and exciting. However, the movie is tedious, drawn-out, and poorly constructed. The lawlessness of criminals is one thing, but the sheer stupidity and wicked things the police officers commit are infuriating. DEN OF THIEVES is also filled with abundant foul language, violence and some nudity, making it an excessive mess that discerning moviegoers will want to skip.
DEN OF THIEVES is a heist movie about a group of highly trained bank robbers trying to pull off their biggest heist, and a group of elite cops trying to take them down by any means necessary.
The movie begins by claiming that Los Angeles is the bank robbery capital of the world (something that’s no longer true). It then goes on to show a crew steal an armored car and kill the drivers as well as several cops trying to stop them.
In a flashback, the movie introduces Donnie, a young bartender with driving skills. He’s introduced to a crew of robbers led by Ray Merrimen and Levi Enson (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) and asked to join them in their highly efficient robberies.
Meanwhile, Big Nick (Gerard Butler) is at the crime scene of the armored truck robbery with his team of elite police officers from the LA County Sheriff’s Department. Nick, an irreverent, hard edged cop, puts it together that Merrimen, an ex-con, is involved in the heist, and he’s pretty sure Donnie is involved somehow.
So, Nick goes to Donnie’s bar, and after his shift finishes, he knocks Donnie out and brings him to a hotel where his men are waiting. Nick tells Donnie that he and his men aren’t like other cops. They don’t arrest criminals; they shoot them. Nick says that they’re the actual bad guys. Scared out of his mind, Donnie tells Nick a few things, like they’re planning another heist, but he convinces Nick he doesn’t know what they’re planning to rob. So, they decide to let him go so they can catch the bank robbers in the act.
Merrimen reveals to his team they’re going to rob the Federal Reserve Bank in downtown Los Angeles. Since the Federal Reserve shreds $30 million of old bills every day, the plan is to break in and steal those bills before they’re shredded. It’s the perfect crime because the bills will be untraceable.
Nick also finds out his wife is leaving him because he’s clearly been unfaithful, and is taking their two daughters with her. With his life spiraling downward, Nick’s beef with Merrimen and this crew of thieves becomes personal, and he plans to take them all out at their next heist. What then takes place is a series of twists and shootouts.
DEN OF THIEVES could have been a great action thriller. The cast is perfect, the tone is right, the action sequences intense and exciting. However, the movie is tedious, drawn-out, and poorly constructed. A good portion of the movie is Nick staring down people he doesn’t like, including the baddies in public places. Even with a half-way decent twist, there are far too many coincidences and far-fetched plot elements. Terrible pacing and continuity flaws also plague the movie.
Infuriatingly, Nick and his police officers initiate a gun battle with the robbers in the middle of bumper to bumper traffic, which surely would have resulted in many civilian deaths. By the end of the movie, it becomes a battle as to who you despise more, the police or the bank robbers. This is, perhaps needless to say, completely unsatisfying.
DEN OF THIEVES is also filled with abundant foul language, violence and some nudity, making it an excessive mess worth skipping for discerning moviegoers as well as media-wise viewers.