Den of Thieves is one of the more intense films as of late. It stars Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, and O’Shea Jackson Jr. in a crime thriller that feels like it could have come out in the early 2000s. It’s old school in a sense; it’s a type of film that doesn’t get made much anymore, and I dig that about it.
Thieves takes place in Los Angeles and begins with a team of armed men attacking an armored truck at a coffee shop late at night. The situation is tense and leads to one of the robbers opening fire which results in them killing all of the truck guards. The police show up and a shootout ensues. Most of the police officers are killed and the robbers, led by Ray Merrimen (Schreiber), escape with the armored truck, which is empty.
Detective Nick O’Brien (Butler), nicknamed “Big Nick”, arrives at the crime scene the following morning. Right off the bat, he seems like a great character. He has a witty persona and isn’t a detective who does things by the book. He finds Donnie (Jackson Jr.) at the bar he works at, knocks him out and kidnaps him to interrogate him. Donnie explains he’s just the driver and doesn’t know much. They end up letting him go after telling them a few bits of information.
Merrimen explains to the rest of the group that they’re going to rob the Federal Reserve. That’s why they stole the armored truck, because they’ll be stealing money disguised as guards dropping off money. This is where the rest of the story really gets rolling.
I enjoyed the film quite a bit. It has a couple great twists, the characters are all solid and well played by each actor, and the action is intense. There are also some flaws, however. The character development could have been better. There’s an attempt at development, such as with Big Nick’s wife leaving him because she finds out he’s cheating, but it feels thin. There’s another moment where you meet Levi’s (50 Cent) family but that’s it. They sprinkle bits of their personal lives in the film, but it didn’t exactly create the emotional attachment I believe they may have been going for.
The fun in Thieves boils down to the “rivalry” between Big Nick and Merrimen and wondering how Merrimen and his crew are going to execute this large scale heist. Seeing it all unfold is thrilling and the ending is great. It delivers on that level. All in all, I think the film is worth seeing, whether that’s in theaters or in the comfort of your home after it’s been released for streaming. It’s a fun ride with some great twists and turns along the way.