Den of Thieves
Rated Greg’s Top 5 Most Macho Movies
- Rocky IV
Big Trouble in Little China
Den of Thieves, starring Gerard Butler & 50 Cent, is a good movie. Wait. WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING?! DON’T LEAVE! HEAR ME OUT!
Ok you still here? Good. So yes, Hollywood’s newest bank robbing caper, Den of Thieves, stars Gerard Butler and 50 Cent. And yes, it only got a 41% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. But you know what? Just like Carmelo Anthony proclaiming that he’s “done with the refs,” Rated Greg is officially done with Rotten Tomatoes. You know how I know that the Tomatometer is full of shit? 75% of the public audience reported liking Den of Thieves after seeing it, which is more than the 71% that reported liking Phantom Thread, a movie that got a 91% on the Tomatometer compared to Den’s 41. Now, Phantom Thread is a fine cinematic accomplishment and unlike The Shape of Water, I’m not going to fuss about its Best Picture nomination. But watching Phantom Thread is not NEARLY as fun a time as watching Den of Thieves is. It’s just not.
What critics got wrong about Den of Thieves is that they took the film as seriously as the film takes itself. This movie oh so obviously aspires to be Heat 2.0… but just because it’s visibly inferior to the best heist movie of all time, most notably in the area of plot cohesiveness, doesn’t mean that it’s not worthwhile entertainment. Comparing Den of Thieves to Heat is the wrong litmus test. Rather, it should be thought of as an R-Rated, less self-aware Fast and Furious. In addition to Heat and F&F, this movie also borrows from The Town, Sicario, and Bad Boys II. Now, there’s a fine line between paying homage to something and completely ripping it off. Because of how similar certain scenes are, Den is probably guilty of the latter, but very enjoyable nonetheless.
The main thing I took away from Den of Thieves is that it’s just OOZING with unbridled machismo. For real, the level of swinging dicks in each frame is a throwback to this gif.
Needless to say, this film does not pass The Bechdel Test. At the center of those swinging dicks is Gerard Butler in a ravenous performance that can only be further described as the love child of Heat Pacino, the bear from The Revenant, and a 24 oz. can of Tecate. He’s on one from start to finish and I loved every second of it (and this is coming from someone that hasn’t cared at all for his previous filmography).
In addition to Butler we have the aforementioned 50 cent, who is second billed on the poster for marketing purposes but turns out to be no more than an ancillary character. Really, Den of Thieves is about Butler vs. Pablo Schreiber and O’Shea Jackson Jr, both also fantastic in their own rights (you might remember Pablo as Nicky Sobotka from The Wire Season 2, he’s also Liev Schreiber’s younger brother). Anyways, there you have it. Den of Thieves is a good movie. Thanks for sticking around. Grade: A-