People were saying that Den of Thieves borrows from the Michael Mann movie "HEAT". That is true to some degree but this movie has it's own flavour that most viewers including myself enjoyed. The movie starts off by stating that "Los Angeles is the crime capital of the world". Then a group of thugs rob a van full of money at gunpoint. Some of the van's people are taken down. The criminals flee before the police arrive. The sound of the gun violence is spectacular and visuals of the criminals vs cops take full advantage of the widescreen shot. The criminals go back to their hideout and have an argument.
The criminals are played by: Pablo Schreiber (Ray, the leader of the group), Fifty Cent (Enson, second in command) and O'Shea Jackson Jr. (Donnie, bartender). The cops are played by Gerard Butler (Big Nick O'brien, leader of the team), Maurice Compte (Benny, cop), Brian Van Holt (Murph, cop).
The cops arrive at the scene. Gerard Butler as Big Nick O'brien does fantastic. He is tough and brutal. From a distance a criminal is there taking photos of them. Back at the criminals hideout they see the photos. This stylish cat and mouse style of editing is seen through out the movie. It gives you insight into the lives of both cops and robbers.
Some of the more memorable scenes involve the cops paying a visit to a bartender criminal (Donnie played excellently by O'Shea Jackson) in a bar. Nick abducts this guy and he awakens in a room full of tough cops. Nick makes him admit he is the driver and they let him go. He recalls driving around, these scenes are great. Nick has a fight with his wife. Nick gets sued. Enson (Fifty cent) gets visited by his future son in law who is taking his daughter to the prom. He takes the son in law into a room full of thugs and jokingly threatens him! hahahaha. Fifty cent's voice is softly spoken but intimidating, great acting.
In another scene Nick goes to a restaurant where the thugs are, he says them "I come here for the ass" hehehe. Nick comes home to his wife who's having dinner with friends. He gets angry at his wife and assaults her friends. This is reminiscent of the scene in HEAT where Pacino rips the TV off the wall and takes it with him after seeing that his wife has a partner over. Nick then goes to the firing range and sees the criminals there. They eye each other out.
One of the best scenes involves Nick sleeping with a woman who is Ray's (the leader of the criminal's) girlfriend. They spot each other in the living room hehehe. The Criminals are preparing for the ultimate heist. They prepare their weapons. They take over the bank and take hostages. They blow the vault. The Bank gets raided by cops. The Criminals had escaped via underground tunnels. They get into a vehicle and drive off. Gerard finds a thug involved and asks him where the rest is. The Criminals are in the garbage junkyard exchanging vehicles. They drive off and get stuck in a traffic jam. The Cops come from behind.
The second and last major gunfight begins. Once again the sound quality and visuals are awesome. This innovative action sequence involves bullets flying through cars and windows. Nick chases Ray. They have a gun fight. I won't spoil it further but the last scenes are memorable.
I always wondered when another movie like HEAT was going to pop up. I guess that Den of Thieves did answer the call and then some. The main two opposing characters (played by Gerard Butler and Pablo Schreiber) did an oustanding job. But the surprise standout was Fifty Cent. I was crying out for more scenes with him.
"Fifty Cent gives a subtle but memorable performance. This was needed to create the gripping/depressing mood of the film"I can say that the gun battle scenes were as good or better coreographed than HEAT and that's no mean feat. Enjoy the intriguing and action packed 2hrs 20min.