March 5, 2018  (Web Review)

Den of Thieves

Universal, 140 min., R, DVD: $29.99, Blu-ray/DVD Combo: $34.99, Apr. 24

Reviewer rating: 2.0/4

Den of Thieves opens with the (unverified) claim that Los Angeles is “the bank robbery capital of the world,” where a heist occurs every 48 minutes. At the Major Crimes unit of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, “Big Nick” O’Brien (Gerard Butler) is obsessed with these statistics and he is determined to catch recently paroled Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), whose band of former-Marines-turned-bank-robbers (known as The Outlaws), are planning to rob the downtown branch of the Federal Reserve for $30 million in unmarked bills. Big Nick plants a mole within Merrimen’s organization—hapless young bartender/getaway driver Donnie Wilson (O’Shea Jackson Jr.)—who, unfortunately, blows his cover at a Japanese hibachi restaurant. Big Nick also routinely cheats on his long-suffering wife, Debbie (Dawn Olivieri), who understandably walks out on him, taking their two young daughters. Meanwhile, gang member Enson Levoux (Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) enlists his Outlaw cohorts to intimidate his own daughter’s prom date. Screenwriter Christian Gudegast makes a less-than-auspicious directorial debut in this contrived, loud, overlong, and too familiar crime caper. Optional. [Note: DVD/Blu-ray extras include audio commentary by director Christian Gudegast and producer Tucker Tooley, deleted and alternate scenes (23 min.), an alternate ending (5 min.), and the production featurettes “Alameda Corridor” (3 min.), “Alpha Males” (2 min.), and “Into the Den” (2 min.). Exclusive to the Blu-ray release are bonus DVD and digital copies of the film. Bottom line: a solid extras package for a disappointing film.] (S. Granger)