Den of Thieves is a wonderful little action movie. It's meatheaded as hell, but it's also Heat meets Ocean's 11 meets a nu metal music video. It is completely aggro in an entertaining way and I enjoyed it enough that I almost want to hear what Bill Simmons and his buddies have to say about it. Almost.
I was shocked by how good the movie was. The TV spot looked good, but the full trailer looked horrible. Why was it called Den of Thieves? I have no idea, but it was fun.
Of course, the movie was not without its faults. The women - a wife who had been cheated on and her two daughters, a bunch of prostitutes, some nameless, voiceless significant others at a restaurant, and a stripper - didn't exactly get to shine. Like if Heat took out all the flowery stuff about the main characters' home lives.
That one scene where a boy picks up 50 Cent's daughter to go to prom is stolen from Bad Boys (which I'm sure was stolen from something else) and has absolutely no reason to be in the movie. Ditto for everything about Gerald Butler's home life. We didn't need a picture drawn to know this was a guy whose personal life would be a mess. All that stuff just goes right in the unintentional comedy bin, even if the scenes themselves are fine and might work in a different movie.
But let's be honest. This movie was really about the dudes. The cast of men who got to talk - Leonidas, 50 Cent, Nick Sobotka, Cheddar Bob, Ice Cube, Bobby from Cougartown - were all good. O'Shea Jackson Jr. was especially enjoyable, I thought. Between this and his performance as his father in Straight Outta Compton, I am officially on board.
At over two hours, the movie flew by, which is saying something when there are so many ridiculous scenes. Maybe the best running bit is how Butler's crew of sheriffs doesn't get along with the FBI and the FBI guy is like "You're a bad apple" and Butler is like "Yeah? Well, bad apples are pretty cool, actually." It's like if Koogler went into law enforcement and stopped having fun.
Anyway, the performances are gruff all around. The action is tight and actually based in reality. Although, police deciding to engage in a machine gun shootout in the middle of a traffic jam doesn't make the most sense, but what are you going to do? You've got good guys and anti-heroes and some big, loud-ass guns so let's shoot them.
The final scene set up a possible sequel and would you believe they are actually going to make it? Den of Thieves 2: Pantera is in the works with Butler, Jackson and 50 Cent involved. While it will certainly be lacking without Pablo Schreiber, I will happily watch it however people consume post-theatrical movies in 2025.