Author Topic: Den of Thieves  (Read 699 times)

Offline Emperorjones

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« Last Edit: January 22, 2018, 07:56:33 am by Emperorjones »


Offline Emperorjones

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Re: Den of Thieves (Review)
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2018, 04:31:07 pm »
Checked out the film today. I thought it was alright. It reminded me of Proud Mary because before seeing Den (like Mary) I thought the film was going to be an action film, and it turned out more like an action-drama/crime thriller. I did like Den more than Mary. I thought it's story choices worked better. That being said, I think Taraji had more personality and charisma than Gerard Butler did in his lead role in Den. I also thought Den had better action scenes, though there aren't as many as the trailer might have you think.

Butler, playing hardcore cop Big Nick, was definitely having fun, but I think he was more into it than I was watching in the audience. The film spent the most time developing the spiraling bad ass cop to the overall detriment of the other characters and the film as a whole. I got the vibe that the film was inspired by Michael Mann's Heat with a cat-and-mouse game between Nick and Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), the leader of a group of elite thieves. I haven't watched Heat in a long time, and truth be told, I wasn't that impressed from what I saw of it in the '90s, but that pairing of DeNiro and Pacino is still magic and Den couldn't really emulate that because it didn't have the same caliber of actors and the writing wasn't there. That's not completely a bad thing though, because Butler wasn't horrible, but Merrimen was very underdeveloped and so it was hard to really do a matching of wits between characters. There's even a scene where Nick laments not knowing what drives Merrimen and yet the film really doesn't tell us either so it's hard to buy the idea of a battle or test of wills between equals.

O'Shea Jackson's Donnie, a driver with Merrimen's crew, who is caught between the thief and Nick got more focus than Merrimen. Perhaps in a sense he is the heart of the film, the everyman kind of character, a person way in over his head. It does get a little annoying watching Donnie get slapped around though. 50 Cent is also in the film, but his role isn't that huge or important. For long stretches of the film I don't get why he didn't play Merrimen. He's going to be one of the big draws for this film and should've had a bigger role.

What works the best for me is the action scenes and I also liked the ending. I also think it did a good job of building up anticipation and suspense as this two forces (Nick and Merrimen) were heading toward a collision. What didn't work was the runtime, his film is 2 hours and 20 minutes. It should've been no more than 2 hours tops, really more like 90 minutes. I also think the film could've paired down scenes about Nick's personal situation and gave that time to Merrimen to explain his motivations. Another demerit was the soundtrack was basically nonexistent. I'm surprised they didn't have a loud hip-hop/rock soundtrack here.

I recommend checking the film out, but waiting to home video isn't a bad choice. I liked it better than Proud Mary and Jamie's Sleepless, but I preferred the heist film The Town much more than Den of Thieves.