Den of Thieves
by George Wolf
They’re back, baby! The star and one of the five writers from London Has Fallen are reunited, and it feels…so much better than you are thinking right now.
This time, writer Christian Gudegast also takes the director’s chair for his debut feature, an ambitious mix of Heat and The Town and maybe a few other heist flicks I’ll bring up later.
Gerard Butler is Big Nick, an L.A. County sheriff who’s a very bad lieutenant. Some cops just got killed in an armored car job, and Nick is pretty sure it’s the work of Merriman (Pablo Schreiber).
He’s right, but the big score is still to come: a master plan to rob the L.A. branch of the Federal Reserve. Amid some surprisingly engaging dialog, Gudegast effectively contrasts the good bad guys and the bad bad guys, slowly laying the groundwork for a final confrontation while getaway driver Donnie (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) openly works both sides.
At 140 minutes, it’s at least half an hour too long, bloated with some futile attempts at character development, and a bit tone deaf on police brutality and some other current events. But there is well-plotted tension, some inventive turns among gaps in logic and an Ocean’s/Logan Lucky inspired wrap-up that will bring a chuckle.