+- Recommended at Your Discretion – R, Thriller, Action
What makes this film unique? Absolutely nothing. What makes this film watchable? Almost everything. The story follows Nick O’Brien (Gerard Butler), a sheriff for Los Angeles Country, as he hunts the most notorious group of thieves, including Pablo Schreiber and Curtis Jackson. As the group plans their next heist on the Federal Reserve, Nick will use unlawful tactics to get the outcome he desires.
As far as story goes, there is nothing new that the film brings to its genre. What makes this worth recommendation, if you have money to spend, is the way the film is shot and the direction of a couple characters. First, lets tackle the characters. Gerard Butler’s character is one of the main focuses, but not the overall catalyst to the story, as we learn later in the film. Here, the focus lies on Ice Cube’s son, O’Shea Jackson Jr. While you do feel that his character is stuck in the middle of this conflict, I didn’t care enough about his story compared to Gerard Butler’s character, who gains more traction in the film, has an arc, and has plenty more screen-time.
The same can be said for the rest of the ensemble on either side. I didn’t care about them, even when we transitioned into the action set-pieces; and when you set up an ensemble movie, the first step is making me care about all of them, or at least the majority. With that being said, Pablo Schreiber’s villain could be relatable to some and is very convincing in his role, in regards to his acting. It could be very easy to portray that character with one-note and I’m glad he found a way to avoid that.
Now the cinematography. For an action movie of its kind, I was very convinced that the cinematographer knew what they were doing and when I got home I immediately searched who shot this film. It was no one I had ever heard of before: Terry Stacey, who has mostly done romantics in the last few years. I was amazed that it turned out so well. Spatially, I knew where everything was in relation to another during the shoot-outs and that isn’t typical for these movies. There is a shot in here, when Nick goes to the beach, that I found surprising and I’m still thinking back on it, even after a day. The final shoot-out, on a technical level, was done superbly. But don’t expect a Michael-Bay-level of shootouts.
All-in-all it’s an okay film. Go check it out over the weekend if you’re looking to shut your brain off for a couple of hours. There are better movies out now (Hostiles and 12 Strong). Did you see Den of Thieves? Is it better than any other Gerard Butler movie? What is your favorite Gerard Butler movie (and don’t tell me Geostorm)? Let us know in the comments below! Don’t forget to tune in to our video review for Den of Thieves on Patreon. Make sure to give the video a thumbs up if you like it, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to get all the reviews you could hope for.