Set in current day Los Angeles, the movie is about the crossing of two groups of crooked and shady individuals. One on hand, there’s the Regulators, the Major Crimes unit of the LA Sheriff’s Department led by Big Nick O’Brien played by Gerard Butler. On the other, there’s the Outlaws, the premier group of bank robbers in LA County. Ray Merrimen played by Pablo Schreiber leads them. This film has a lot going on so let’s dive into the Den of Thieves Blu-ray review.
Den of Thieves Blu-ray Review
Den of Thieves is not your classic Cops vs. Robbers story. It’s more like what’s the other group up to and how do we counter it.
In fact, in this 2 hours, 29 minutes unrated version of the film, the lines between the two groups are often blurred. So much so that you often feel sympathetic for a few of the Outlaws, and feel some hostility towards the Regulators.
The film begins with Big Nick O’Brien staying out all night showing up at what appears to be his home at sunrise. He sneaks in and is surprised by his wife. Nick has been a bad boy. He’s been cheating on his wife and is about to get caught. What takes place is tragic from a family perspective, but Nick has no one to blame but himself for being a lousy husband. His character is off to a bad start, and this carries throughout the film. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you come to loathe him.
When it comes to the other members of the Regulators, you begin to dislike them as well.
There’s a scene which takes place in a hotel suite where the Sheriffs essentially kidnapped Donnie (the driver) for an off-the-books interrogation. There’s plenty of booze, prostitutes, and foul language. If there was ever any doubt that the Regulators were shady and crooked, it’s now out the door. I actually feel sad for Donnie here.
In the Outlaws opening scene, they steal an armored money car in front of a donut shop in a heist that went far too south. Four people were killed, including a few cops. While they never intended to kill anyone in this robbery, and haven’t in the past, they did this time, albeit inadvertently at first, and now they’re the top targets of the police and FBI, and rightfully so.
Our bank robbers, the Merrimen crew, are as bad as the Regulators times 10. Still, there are moments throughout the film where you feel sympathy for them. Big Nick is continually harassing their driver Donnie and their leader Merrimen.
There’s a scene with Enson (50 Cent) where he’s making breakfast for his family and tells his daughter how much he loves her. He even scares her prom date with some tough love. You don’t feel the bad guy in him here.
Plenty more takes place in the remaining two hours of this crime saga. For obvious reasons, I can’t get into further detail as I don’t want to ruin what takes place. It wouldn’t be fair to you who want to watch the film and watch you should. You’ll probably want to watch it a second time later in the same week.
Per the STX Films and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment press release: “Den of Thieves is a gritty Los Angeles crime saga which follows the intersecting and often personally connected lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff’s Department and the state’s most successful bank robbery crew as they plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank of Downtown Los Angeles. Filled with gripping, explosive action and an ending that left audiences stunned, Den of Thieves is an electrifying game of cat-and-mouse.”
“Directed by Christian Gudegast (London Has Fallen), the film blurs the lines between good and evil by examining the rivalry between a police unit, led by Gerard Butler (London Has Fallen), and a crew of career criminals featuring Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson (Get Rich or Die Trying), Pablo Schreiber (13 Hours), O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Straight Outta Compton) and Evan Jones (A Million Ways to Die in the West).”
Den of Thieves is loaded with bonus material that dives into the making of the film including outtakes and deleted scenes, commentary by Director Christian Gudegast and Producer Tucker Tooley, and much more.
Video Rating – 4 out of 5
The scenes in the film are well framed, but I’m not a fan of the light filtering that took place. The washing out of colors didn’t impress me either. But then again, the director and colorists aren’t going for a Dick Tracy approach to filmmaking here. If the use of colors were too powerful, it might cut into the grit of the scenes and character.
The action scenes are intense from a visual perspective, more on the sound below.
Sound Rating – 4.75 out of 5
Because of its intense action sequences, sound plays an enormous part of Den of Thieves. Without the proper sound, the viewer wouldn’t be pulled in and immersed in the action that takes place in front of them.
In the Alameda Corridor scene, the sound is elevated to the point where you feel like you’re there. Hundreds of rounds are fired, and you notice them. To get a better understanding of how this scene was filmed, watch the short Bonus Feature.
The dialogue was easy to pick up and never overpowered by the action. It needed to be with everything else taking place.
Extras Rating – 3 out of 5
The Blu-ray™ + DVD disks come with over 30 minutes of extras. I recommend you watch the outtakes and deleted scenes, but not immediately after watching the 2 hours, 29 minutes film.
I wasn’t too impressed with the three bonus features: Alpha Males, Into the Den, and Alameda Corridor. They’re each under three minutes long and could have been combined into one lengthier feature.
- Alternate Ending
- Alpha Males
- Into the Den
- Alameda Corridor
- Feature Commentary
- Theatrical Trailer #1
- Theatrical Trailer #2
Outtakes and Deleted Scenes
- Nick comes home
- Donnie at the hotel
- Donnie arrives at Enson’s House
- Nick and the boys in the hall
- Enson in the office
- Enson & Maloa
- Merrimen boys get ready
- Enson and Donnie in the van
- Nick & Deb at the market
- Nick & Deb at the beach
- Donnie at the salvage yard
Included on both physical versions of the film are 23 minutes of outtakes and deleted scenes. Most are lengthy and often leave you wondering whether these versions should have made the final cut. Others like the alternate ending would have dramatically changed the final scene of the film.
Blu-ray™/DVD Technical Information
- Screen Format: Widescreen 16:9 (2.40:1)
- Blu-ray™ Audio: English DTS-HD-MA 5.1; Bonus Features: English DD 2.0
- DVD Audio: English DD 5.1
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Rating: R
- Unrated Film Run Time: 149 Minutes
- Closed Captioned: Yes
• Brian Van Holt as Murph Connors
• Mo McRae as Gus Henderson
• Maurice Compte as Benny ‘Borracho’ Magalon
• Kaiwi Lyman as ‘Tony Z’ Zapata
• Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson as Enson Levoux
• O’Shea Jackson Jr. as Donnie Wilson
• Evan Jones as Bo ‘Bosco’ Ostroman
• Jordan Bridges as Lobbin’ Bob
After having grossed shy of $80M worldwide, it was announced that Gerard Butler would reprise his role of Big Nick O’Brien in Den of Thieves 2. The dates for production or the film’s release have not been made public. I look forward to seeing the sequel.
All photos and videos are used with the permission and are the property of STX Films and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment © 2017-2018.