Den Of Thieves

by Michael Cox

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday April 24, 2018

Den Of Thieves

Is Los Angeles really the bank robbery capital of the world? It was in the early 1990s. And according to the movie "Den of Thieves" it still is. This film is about two brotherhoods: A band of criminals, all military trained, and an elite group of county sheriff's deputies, a bunch of thugs with little regard for the law. The thieves have been successful up to this point, but they plan to take on their magnum opus of heists, while the cops use the most questionable means possible to stop them.

Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) and his team of robbers have gone through a lot of trouble to hijack an armored truck, killing innocent people and security guards. They must have a guy on the inside, because they are able to track the police and avoid anyone tracking them, safely taking the truck back to their hideout. But when they open up the truck, it's empty.

Detective "Big Nick" O'Brien (Gerard Butler) has no trouble figuring out whose handiwork this is. He's been following Merrimen for some time. And the detective knows exactly how to get to his nemesis. He'll muscle his way to Merrimen through the getaway driver, a local bartender named Donnie (O'Shea Jackson Jr.). All he has to do is strut around Donnie's bar for a while, mouthing off, then follow him out of the bar and tase him while he's getting into his car.

Donnie wakes up to find himself in a den of police officers swinging their dicks around, banging hookers and acting like super thugs. Is this for real? O'Brien tells Donnie he's working for their team now. Now Donnie has to convince his team - including the big time badass Levi (Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson) - that he hasn't actually told the cops anything about the robbery.

See, they plan on robbing the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles by covertly removing about $30 million in old bills, which are scheduled to be shredded after their serial numbers are deleted from computer records.

You'd think this heist would be the main point, but it really isn't. Instead, we have a bunch of bizarre tangents and pissing contests. Merrimen demonstrates to O'Brien what a good shot he is at an indoor shooting range, and in turn, O'Brien bangs Merrimen's girlfriend. Citizens of Los Angeles, watch out if you're ever stuck in traffic on the Alameda corridor. We're led to believe that cop and robbers regularly have shootouts with automatic weapons through all the stopped cars on the road. Humanity seems to disappear in this scene, but we're assured they're all hiding down by the engine bocks of their cars.

"Den of Thieves" tries to be all of your favorite gritty-crime-drama-slash-heist films and ends up being none of them. The plot is all over the place, and there's no real central character. Maybe I was just hoping O'Brien would be smarter. Instead, he cares more about posturing and flexing his muscles than solving crime.

On this Blu-ray, you can choose between the Unrated and the Theatrical Version of the movie. It includes an alternate ending and has some apropos featurettes, including one called "Alpha Males," and a couple that focus on some of the training the actor got with guns. (There were a lot of bullets shot in the making of this movie.) There are also some outtakes (which looked more like extended scenes; I didn't notice much of a difference between them and the originals) and a director commentary.

"Den of Thieves"
Blu-ray $24.99 | DVD $19.98