DEN OF THIEVES — Review by Susan Granger

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Opening with the (unverified) data that Los Angeles is “the bank robbery capital of the world,” there’s also the alarming alert that a heist occurs every 48 minutes. At the Major Crimes unit of the L.A. Sheriff’s Department, ‘Big Nick’ O’Brien (Gerard Butler) is obsessed with these statistics and determined to catch recently paroled Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), whose band of former Marines-turned-bank robbers, known as “The Outlaws,” are planning to rob the downtown branch of the Federal Reserve for $30 million in unmarked bills. Continue reading...

Musing, “We’re dealing with a different animal here,” Big Nick plants a mole within Merrimen’s organization, the hapless young bartender/getaway driver Donnie Wilson (O’Shea Jackson Jr., a.k.a. real-life son of Ice Cube), who, unfortunately, blows his cover at a Japanese hibachi restaurant.

Meanwhile, gang member Enson Levoux (Curtis Jackson, a.k.a. 50 Cent) enlists his Outlaw cohorts to intimidate his daughter’s prom date. And Big Nick routinely cheats on his wife, Debbie (Dawn Olivieri), who walks out on him, taking their two young daughters. Ho hum!

Screenwriter Christian Gudegast makes a less-than-auspicious directorial debut after previously working with brutish Gerard Butler on “London Has Fallen,” perhaps because, in addition to the clichéd dialogue, almost every aspect of his contrived, pointless plot is so obviously influenced by Michael Mann’s “Heat” and Bryan Singer’s “The Usual Suspects.”

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Den of Thieves” is a familiar 4, a long, loud, logistical crime caper that curdles.

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.