It will be tough for me to discuss much about Den of Thieves without going into spoilers so I am going to get this out of the way right off the bat. I really liked the ending of this movie. What lead up to it, though, not so much. So I will not mention that ending again but it did help salvage this movie for me.
Den of Thieves tells the story of a band of cops led by Nick Flanagan (Gerard Butler) that work quite a bit outside the law attempting to stop another band of criminals led by Merriman (Pablo Schreiber) who are attempting to pull off the heist of the century.
I was really bored by the first hour of this movie. There was nothing new or engaging for me as the time dragged on. The film was 2 hours and 20 minutes long and the first half of it was just so slow. I will admit that the film did pick up the pace once the heist began, but, by that time, I had checked out of the film.
I had a second major problem that I found as I was watching the film. I wound up rooting for the criminals. The thieves which included characters played by Evan Jones, 50 Cent, Cooper Andrews (Jerry from the Walking Dead) and O’Shea Jackson Jr. were just more compelling and seemed to be the more decent people than the cops.
I hated the character of Nick. I thought he was a terrible person and he pulled so many illegal things that I am surprised that they would allow him to be the main protagonist of a film in today’s society. I was legit cheering for him to be killed in the final shoot out because he was such an unlikable character. This is nothing against Gerard Butler, because I think he did a very decent job playing the character, but I just saw almost zero redeeming qualities in him.
They also spent way too much time, in a film that is over long, showing Nick’s family troubles. I understand that they are showing this to prove that Nick is not a complete asshat, but it only served to slow the film down even more.
There were a bunch of scenes here that could have easily been edited out and nothing of substance would have been lost. Part of that falls at the feet of first time director Christian Gudegast. Though much of the film is technically well done, the run time is an error in judgment.
As I said, I was really cheering for the bad guys to get away and win in the end of the film and I do not think that the filmmakers intended that to be that way. I was bored with Den of Thieves for a good chunk of the movie, but the ending did improve the film for me. It did not improve it enough for me to recommend this, but it could be a good cable watch some rainy lazy day.