Review Roundup: Critics Weigh In On DEN OF THIEVES
"Den of Thieves" represents the directorial debut of Christian Gudegast ("London Has Fallen", "A Man Apart") who is helming from his original screenplay based on a story by Gudegast and Paul Scheuring ("Prison Break: The Final Break", "A Man Apart"). Producing are Mark Canton ("300", "300: Rise of an Empire", "Immortals"), Tucker Tooley ("We're The Millers", "The Fighter"), Gerard Butler ("Olympus Has Fallen", "How to Train Your Dragon", "300") and Alan Siegel ("London Has Fallen", "Olympus Has Fallen"), long-time partners in their production company, G-BASE.
Starring in "Den of Thieves" are Gerard Butler, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson ("War Dogs", "Spy"), Pablo Schreiber ("13 Hours", "The Manchurian Candidate"), O'Shea Jackson, Jr. ("Straight Outta Compton"), Evan Jones ("A Million Ways to Die in the West," "Gangster Squad", "8 Mile"), Cooper Anderson ("I Hate My Neighbor!"), Maurice Compte ("A Walk Among Tombstones", "End of Watch"), Kaiwai Lyman-Mersereau ("American Violence", "Westworld"), Mo McRae ("Wild", "Thirteen"), Meadow Williams ("Apollo 13") and Brian Van Holt ("Wild", "S.W.A.T.").
See what the critics thought here:
Owen Gleiberman, VARIETY: "The most impressive thing "Den of Thieves" does is to squeeze a rare charismatic performance out of the generally inexpressive Gerard Butler. He's an actor who tends to lead with his dyspeptic scowl, and often doesn't have much going on beneath it, but in "Den of Thieves" he underplays the brutish bluster, acting with a fast throwaway twinkle evocative of Russell Crowe in his prime. In an early scene, Butler's Nick Flanagan and his team throw a boozy house party in which they shackle Donnie (O'Shea Jackson Jr.), the driver for the criminal mastermind Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), to an armchair and beat what he knows out of him. "
Glenn Kenny, rogerebert.com: "Indeed, the movie begins with crime that's committed like a paramilitary operation. An armored car stops at a donut place and an SUV full of masked men armed to the teeth swoop in on it. A dropped coffee sets off a trigger-happy heist man, and a near-massacre ensues. This crew didn't want it that way, but as its mastermind, Merriman (Pablo Schreiber) glumly notes when they've gotten to safety, "Now we're cop-killers." And they did it all for an empty truck. "
BEN KENIGSBERG, THE NEW YORK TIMES: "With almost compulsive detail, "Den of Thieves" rattles off title cards identifying places and major characters, some of whose names sound like Los Angeles suburbs. The would-be regional authenticity is marred by obviously off-location work. It's no surprise when the ubiquitous Georgia peach logo surfaces in the credits. Still, the film is generous with action and twists, even if some don't track. For January, a month Hollywood reserves for dogs, this is an admirably weird movie."
Randy Cordova, AZ CENTRAL : "He also has fun setting up a viewer's expectations, then diverting them before returning to his original intent. There is a complex sequence that explains how the Federal Reserve works. For a moment, you think it's flabby filmmaking, but then it ultimately pays off. (To say more would spoil the fun.) "
Michael Rougeau, GAME SPOT: "Den of Thieves' main problem will rear its head if you're hoping to identify or sympathize with any of the protagonists, on either side of the conflict. They're miserable saps, one and all, gruff and coarse and selfish as can be. Butler's character, in particular, is just a real piece of work, a drunk who cheats on his wife and kidnaps and abuses suspects without a moment's hesitation."
Michael Phillips, CHICAGO TRIBUNE: ""Den of Thieves" rips several hundred pages out of the Michael Mann "Heat" playbook. Pablo Schreiber ("Orange is the New Black") plays Merrimen, one of several ex-military criminals planning to boost several million in unmarked bills from the allegedly impenetrable U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. Merrimen's crew includes roles filled by 50 Cent and, as the movie's most sympathetic element, bartender-turned-getaway-driver Donnie. O'Shea Jackson Jr. portrays him, and as Donnie gets in deeper and deeper as Big Nick's reluctant mole and source of information, the performance develops some intriguing wrinkles. Jackson Jr. ("Straight Outta Compton") is very good. So is Schreiber."