Friday, 2 February 2018
Den Of Thieves.
Big Nick O'Brien is a hard living Deputy in the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He drinks too much, he smokes too much and he works too much. He loves his job and he revels in the larger than life hard man image he projects. And he loves a challenge. When he and his task force find themselves hunting a well organised gang of bank robbers, well that's a challenge he can sink his teeth into.
Den Of Thieves is a stupid film. It's dripping with testosterone and cliche. It's full of big burly bastards who like to drink, smoke and call each other motherfuckers. It rips off entire scenes from other better movies. It's loud, it's very silly, one storyline stretches belief to it's very limits in fact and it's pretty badly acted but I gotta say I still had a lot of fun. TBH, I'm very forgiving when it comes to films like this. And i'm blaming Gerard Butler.
He has a whale of a time in the lead role. He chews the scenery apart. It's not a good performance by any measure but jesus it's a fun one. He makes the film. He's just fun to watch. He's like a bull in a china shop. His character is in no way believable but his sheer OTTness is hilarious. The character and some of his questionable choices add a nice edge of unpredictability to proceedings. One morally questionable decision is straight from the Vic Mackey playbook and went down a storm in the screening I saw this at. Without Butler playing the character this film would have went straight to DVD but he still has enough cache and enough of a fanbase to get this film into cinemas. He seems to have embraced his career as a star of big loud silly films. This, Law Abiding Citizen, Machine Gun Preacher, GeoStorm, Olympus and London Has Fallen. It's fun so far. The rest of the cast however doesn't fair so well.
O'Shea Jackson Jr has a likable way about him just like his father (Ice Cube) but he has a ways to go yet before anyone will call him a good actor. 50 Cent is predictably awful. The man cannot act and yet somehow still turns up onscreen regularly. He must know where people's bodies are buried. Pablo Schreiber as the main baddie is an imposing presence but his role basically consists of him snarling and throwing dirty looks. But this isn't a film people come to for acting. It's a film about cops and robbers. It's about car chases and shooting and intricately planned bank robberies. And on that note.
Elephant in the room time. This film is far too close to Michael Mann's 90's masterpiece Heat for comfort. One storyline aside it basically is Heat. It hits every big beat of that film and opens and closes it's story in exactly the same way. But where Heat used subtlety Den Of Thieves uses blunt force. Now I know Heat isn't a film that could be accused of having a delicate touch but it's like a fine china cup beside a big dirty pint glass. Heat isn't the only film 'homaged' either. Hints of Sicario and The Town turn up and one very funny scene utterly rips off a scene from Bad Boys 2.
However if you are going to rip off a masterpiece you need to do it well. This does the basics well but adds its own touch that at one point gets so stupid that it will take you out of the film. It requires a suspension of disbelief that will just too be much for some. It's unnecessary and ends up padding the film out to a ridiculous 140 minutes. Yup, it's nearly two and a half hours long. Silliness.
Look, if you think you won't like this don't bother watching it. Nothing here will surprise you or change your mind. However if you want a bit of loud fun this won't do ya wrong. It's bad but it's good bad if you know what I mean.