Just Been Watching…(119)

Den Of Thieves (2018)

Do you ever start watching a film and think, ‘hang on, this is a rip-off’? Almost as soon as this film started, I was wondering if it was a shady remake of ‘Heat’ (1995) which was itself a remake of ‘LA Takedown’ (1989), albeit by the same director.

‘Den of Thieves’ begins with an exciting scene where a very professional gang attack an armoured security truck, with things going wrong when one gang member kills a guard, leading to the rest of the guards having to be shot too. And it is set in Los Angeles County.
(Yes, the same as in ‘Heat’)

The cop who arrives to investigate is a hard-drinking, no-nonsene leader of an elite squad of gang-busting cops. He has little time for his superiors, and no time for the FBI at all. He puts pressure on suspects, and follows them around, actually confronting them face-to-face.
(Sound familiar?)

He is always at work or out with his team, and rarely gets home. So his wife leaves him.
(Yes,’Heat’ again)

When the police team are keeping watch on the criminal gang, they are also being watched by them in turn. As the police compile a list of suspects, the gang leader makes a list of the police team opposing him, and profiles the top cop. One of the criminals is an electronics wizard, who is also good with explosives.
(I know, ‘Heat’ again!)

I was seriously thinking of reaching for the off-switch when things took a different turn, and it stopped just parroting ‘Heat’.

Beginning with a tense hostage taking in a bank, and leading to a cleverly executed climax of the well-planned robbery of the impregnable Federal Reserve Bank, the second half gives this film its own identity. And there is a twist too!

With the police now in pursuit of the escaping robbers, it all ends not in a car chase, but in a very well choreographed shoot-out sequence in a traffic jam, of all things. So it seems to all be over. But wait. There’s another twist! And that second twist is a real goodie!

With Gerard Butler as Nick, leading the police team, and Pablo Schrieber as Merriman, the tough ex-marine criminal, I didn’t recognise any of the rest of the cast. Though one of them is ex-rapper, 50-Cent. They all did well though, and were convincing enough. Car chases were kept to a minimum, and despite the often groan-inducing similarities with earlier films, I ended up liking this film much more than I thought I would.

Here’s a trailer.

29 thoughts on “Just Been Watching…(119)

    1. I have been ranting about remakes for so long, I had run out of remakes to rant about. But they keep making more! 🙂 This film felt like a remake, but the second half saved it with a nice original twist ending.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s been a while since I watched Heat, so the plot similarities might not bother me so much, but I haven’t yet watched any Gerald Butler’s movies (well, perhaps some sort of comedy years back) and I’m not sure this should be an exception. Thanks, Pete!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I will have to check this out! Love, love Pablo Schreiber- so cool. 😎 Ever since I first saw him in Weeds! Gerard Butler is looking old these days but I still think he is cool. Badass actually ever since Law Abiding Citizen and Marine Gun Preacher. I did see that there is a part 2 for Den of Thieves in Pre-production (IMDB).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pete, I lower my standards a bit when something is part of a movie package or streaming service, so it doesn’t cost me more…Netflix has many of those…I don’t like derivative films, but if they can manage to go off in a new direction at some point, I usually give them the benefit of the doubt!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad the movie was saved by some originality for Gerard Butler’s sake–I rather admire him. It’s nice when a movie takes a turn for the better. Sounds like a solid thriller. I’m going to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He is very ‘Gerard’ in this film, Pam, so won’t disappoint you. The similarities to ‘Heat’ are startling in the first half, but it is saved by an original ending. I think it’s on Netflix, but I saw it on TV here.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I watched this 2 years ago and I remember enjoying the movie but also being glad I watched it on the plane with out going out of my to the cinema. Good entertainment but not great for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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