Watson Reviews: Den of Thieves

I like Gerard Butler. He doesn’t star in the best films, but I still enjoy him every time. Can Butler’s latest film, a Ryan Garcia enticing heist caper, keep the mediocrity streak alive?

Den of Thieves follows a group of criminals planning an ambitious score in Los Angeles facing off with a special police task force aiming to stop them.

This being LA, the cops are just as bad as the crooks. Think Training Day but with Gerard Butler instead of Denzel. Trade offs were made…

Fear not: Den of Thieves is ENTIRELY mediocre! It wants to be the modern version of Michael Mann’s Heat, but instead director Christian Gudegast merely delivers Lukewarm in his debut film.

To be fair, it certainly feels like there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen here. I sensed producer interference as this movie packed every possible cliche into a clunky 2:20 minute run time. They could have shaved a much needed 45 minutes from the movie by cutting the “my wife is leaving me” cliche or the “the bad guy has some heart and loves his family” trope.

The cast chews the scenery adequately, anchored by fun-even-in-a-stinker Mr Butler. Ice Cube has apparently yielded his guaranteed spot in every LA crime thriller to his clone son, O’Shea Jackson Squared (Straight Outta Compton), who brings a little flavor to every film so far. Pablo Schreiber (Orange Is The New Black) and Fifty Cent (Southpaw) balance things out as passably gritty and menacing villains.

At no time does this film approach Heat status is so obviously craves, but it has a charming cast and a few good shoot outs, so it will probably avoid the bottom of my 2018 list. That’s what we are dealing with here.

Overall, I give Den of Thieves 5 “Day Old Fried Rices” out of 10.

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