Make like Lot’s wife. Don’t think. Eyes in front. Don’t falter. Even the slightest twitch of cranial activity will ruin Christian Gudegast’s silly caper.
Den of Thieves desperately wants to be Heat or The Killer when it grows up. Instead it’s a daft, distant, drunken cousin to those pictures, but if you studiously avoid thinking about it, you can at least enjoy its moronic antics.
The action unfolds as an Anchorman news team battle between cops and robbers. The cops are – wait for it – even more lawless than their targets. They are a hard-drinking, hard-partying, hard-bodied crew led by a growling Gerard Butler, who stands one eye-patch and wooden leg shy of being a full-blown Pirates of the Caribbean. “Do we look like the types that’ll arrest you?” aaaarghs Butler. “We’ll just shoot you.”
They’re lone wolves. Except in a group. Which one of his guys is Brick? We never find out: the equivalent teams idea gets lost when Gudegast’s screenplay fails to differentiate the players.
We do know that the bad guys are led by Orange is the New Black’s Pablo Schreiber, and include 50 Cent and O’Shea Jackson Jr. The bad guys may rob banks, but, in a non-shock twist, otherwise look to be far more upstanding citizens than the crooks.
“You’re not the bad guys,” stomps Butler: “We are.” Got it.To paraphrase mammies everywhere, if you have nothing nice to say, don’t bother including the nothing female characters, which here run to three minutes of nagging wife, obedient call girls, a shared lap-dancer, and 10 seconds of teenage daughter.
The latter is going to prom, but not until her dad (50 Cent, who is a good deal more convincing than he was while playing 50 Cent in Get Rich or Die Tryin’) and his steroidal buddies surround her unfortunate date in an assertion of their sexual propriety.
Anyways, these bank robbers are, like, the best ever bank robbers; it’s almost as if they’ve taken over the warren of underground tunnels that allowed Gerard Butler to disappear and reappear in jail, court, the mayor’s office, and the zoo (probably) and are now using them against the Scottish star.
The titular thieves (Or are they? Huh? Huh?) have hatched the plan of plans to rob the bank of banks. Their heist and capering is appealingly spliced together by Clint Eastwood’s regular editor, Joel Cox. But you’ll need pixie dust, a stable of suspended disbelief, and a high tolerance of meat-headedness to get along with the rest. Watch out for the dim and wholly unnecessary twist. Eyes in front.
Note to action movie directors: you probably don’t need to tell Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson — juvenile crack dealer turned multi-millionnaire rapper and movie star – how to take a bullet.It was a liberty first-time filmmaker Christian Gudegast felt comfortable taking, however, during the filming of Jackson’s latest movie, gritty heist thriller Den of Thieves.
“There’s a point where I get shot in the film, and I did it and Christian was like, ‘No, you didn’t do that the right way,” Jackson recalled at a press event for the movie in Beverly Hills.“I was like, ‘Trust me, I know what I’m doing.’”
Jackson, raised on the mean streets of Queens by his grandmother after his drug dealer mother’s death in a mystery fire, knows all about how it feels to get shot, of course.On a May evening 18 years ago, he was hit nine times at close range by a drive-by gunman wielding a semi-automatic pistol in the South Jamaica area of Queens.
Shot in the hand, arm, legs, chest, hip and left cheek, he eventually made an unlikely full recovery while the alleged assailant was killed three weeks later.
“After I got shot nine times at close range and didn’t die, I started to think that I must have a purpose in life,” Jackson would later reflect in his autobiography.
Empowered and newly motivated, he left his criminal past behind, started pumping iron seriously and became the health-conscious, entertainment tycoon we know today. Most famous for hit hip hop tracks In Da Club and Candy Shop, the soft-spoken Jackson has become as much a worldwide brand as an actor and musician.
Den of Thieves, his 24th movie, follows the intersecting lives of the major crimes unit of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department and the “Outlaws,” an elite band of robbers.The 42-year-old gives a laconic, brooding performance as a disciplined father-of-five who has managed to demarcate his family life and criminal career as the Outlaws’ second-in-command.In real life, Jackson has been frank about his complicated family situation, reportedly paying $12,000 (Dh44,063) a month on child support for his two younger children.
He is estranged from his older son Marquise, publicly disowning him via an Instagram post in October last year, and the pair have sparred on social media.
In Den of Thieves, Jackson gets to deliver one of the movie’s rare humorous moments as the overprotective father who uses the Outlaws to intimidate the boy taking his teenage daughter to the prom.
“Whether you have a female child or not, you can use your imagination and say if that was my daughter, she’d be my little princess,” Jackson said, asked if the scene made him reflect on his own role as a father.
Every member of the main cast were put through a grueling two-week boot camp before filming began in Atlanta to give them a comprehensive understanding of the weapons and how to move with them.
This, of course, would have been a cinch for Jackson, famed for his granite-hard six-pack, and a punishing gym regimen that includes going twice on Sundays.
He is famous for shedding a quarter of his fighting weight of 214 pounds via a nine-week liquid diet to play an athlete who battles cancer in All Things Fall Apart (2011).