Director: Christian Gudegast
Cast: Gerard Butler, Pablo Schreiber, O’Shea Jackson Jr.
Release Date: April 24, 2018
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
Den of Thieves is a gritty Los Angeles crime saga which follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as they plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of Downtown Los Angeles.
‘Den of Thieves’ tells the intense story of two clashing groups in Los Angeles on opposite sides of the law. Following hard edged and not quite by the book ‘Big Nick’ O’Brien (Butler) and the individuals comprising his special unit of the LA Sheriff’s Department in addition to a group of ex-military soldiers turned talented bank robbers led by the deadly Ray Merrimen (Schreiber) and explores the lives and tribulations of the men on both sides of the conflict. As tensions build and things begin to get steadily more complicated, this group of thieves prepares for the seemingly impossible job of hitting the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. While on the opposite end, Big Nick and his team of hard edged lawmen take their own steps to uncover the truth of the heist and plan a takedown as the two different yet remarkably similar teams each build toward the big moment and prepare for the likely confrontation between.
Directed by first time director Christian Gudegast (best known for his writing work on ‘London Has Fallen’, ‘A Man Apart’ and others) from a screenplay he additionally wrote which was based upon a story he co-developed with Paul Scheuring respectively, Gudegast does a more than capable job at the helm of ‘Den of Thieves’ perfectly capturing the emotion and tension within. The film also owes some credit to the well selected cast which includes Gerard Butler (Olympus Has Fallen), Pablo Schreiber (TV’s American Gods), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton), Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson (TV’s Power), Meadow Williams (The Harvest) and more, nearly all delivering pretty solid performances in each of their respective roles.
‘Den of Thieves’ is a wildly entertaining and at times brutally intense heist thriller that explores characters on both sides of the law as events build to an inevitable confrontation between the groups. Offering some gorgeous action sequences and chases that should have no trouble easily grabbing your attention and leaving you on the edge of your seat until the final moments, ‘Den of Thieves’ may not be perfect, but it’s a whole lot better than many reviews would have you believe. The film definitely borrows heavily from other notable and somewhat similar heist focused dramatic thrillers and even if perhaps somewhat lacking in originality, it certainly manages to capably mold these elements within and the result is a well done film that even if somewhat predictable and often familiar never fails to deliver an enthralling story and some extended sequences that couldn’t be more intense and grin inducing in their execution. Taking care to focus on the personal elements of the characters from both sides of the conflict as well as exploring the intimate, everyday aspects of their lives as opposed to merely riddling the screen with constant and senseless violence at every turn, it finds a suitable middle ground that allows each ample time to be focused upon. I strongly encourage anyone that tends to enjoy similar heist focused films as well as anyone even mildly intrigued with this one to begin with to try and give ‘Den of Thieves’ a whirl when you possible. There’s a good chance that you won’t be at all disappointed.
Overall, ‘Den of Thieves’ serves up an intense, at times action packed and just plain enjoyable heist film that not only delivers ample amounts of tension and breathtaking action sequences, but explores the lives and personal experiences of the characters on both sides of the law, allowing the viewer to truly relate to those on both ends of the fight. It undeniable borrows substantially from other big heist thrillers, yet also does a more than competent job of merging those aspects into the overall scope and making them work surprisingly well for the most part. ‘Den of Thieves’ is definitely highly recommended, anyone who enjoys similar crime thrillers or appreciates a tense, entertaining ride that bothers to spend as much time establishing its characters as it does pitting them against each other should find this one to at least be worth your time and the price of a rental.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Den of Thieves’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio on both the Unrated and R-Rated versions of the film. The video presentation looks wonderful as a whole and delivers a sharp, detailed and smooth video presentation from start to finish. It holds up admirably even during the numerous fast moving and darkly lit sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation that should have no trouble pleasing fans of the movie and first time viewers alike.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on both versions of the film. This multichannel soundtrack is a definite treat and provides a crisp, clean and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It frequently takes full advantage of all five available channels, especially during the gunfights which send bullets, debris, bits of dialogue and plenty more zipping throughout the various speakers, and offering crowd chatter, nature elements and more in the tamer moments; all the while making certain that any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously remain clean and fully audible. Overall, this is a spectacular 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that delivers across the board and contributes a great deal of additional fun and tension to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Den of Thieves’ includes a few enjoyable extras. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Christian Gudegast and Producer Tucker Tooley’ (only available with the Theatrical Version), in addition to an ‘Alternate Ending’ (running approximately 5 minutes in length) and a collection of ‘Outtakes’ (running approximately 23 minutes altogether) for various scenes in the movie which includes some Deleted and Extended scenes. We’re also treated to some brief Behind the Scenes Featurettes including interviews/comments with members of the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Alpha Males’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Into the Den’ (2 minutes) and ‘Alameda Corridor’ (3 minutes). ‘2 Theatrical Trailers’ (approximately 2 minutes each) for the movie are also included.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
‘Den Of Thieves’ is Now Available to Own on Blu-ray, DVD & Digital HD from STX Films & Universal Pictures Home Entertainment