Den of Thieves (film)
|Den of Thieves|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Christian Gudegast|
|Screenplay by||Christian Gudegast|
|Music by||Cliff Martinez|
|Box office||$80.5 million|
Den of Thieves (released in some countries as Criminal Squad) is a 2018 American action-crime film written, directed, and produced by Christian Gudegast. It stars Gerard Butler, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, Pablo Schreiber, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Evan Jones, Dawn Olivieri, Mo McRae, and Max Holloway. In the film, an elite group of County Sheriff Deputies look to stop a gang of thieves planning to rob the Federal Reserve in Los Angeles.
Den of Thieves was distributed by STXfilms and released in the United States on January 19, 2018. The film received mixed reviews and grossed $80 million worldwide. Development of a sequel was announced in February 2018.
In Los Angeles, a team of former MARSOC Marines led by Ray Merrimen perform an armed hijacking of an armored truck. Police officers arrive on scene and engage in a shootout, killing one of Merrimen's crew and four officers. The hijackers escape with the empty armored truck.
Detective Nick O'Brien, head of a Major Crimes Unit, is already keeping tabs on Merrimen and investigates the crime scene. Using an unorthodox style of interrogation, Nick's team kidnaps Donnie Wilson, a local bartender with suspected ties to Merrimen. Donnie reveals under pressure how he met Merrimen and that his only affiliation is acting as the team's getaway driver. He describes a large sum of cash stolen in their first heist together but denies knowing anything about the group's future plans. Donnie is released.
Meanwhile, Merrimen lays out a plan to his team to rob the Federal Reserve. He describes how approximately $30 million in old bills are removed from circulation each day and shredded. The goal is to navigate past a series of traps and sensors to steal the money before it gets shredded, resulting in clean money that can't be tracked.
Nick's team tails Donnie. They see him enter and exit the Federal Reserve posing as a Chinese food delivery driver. After an encounter between Nick and Merrimen's crew, suspicions arise that Donnie may be compromised. Merrimen and his right-hand man Levi interrogate Donnie at gunpoint. To his surprise, they tell him to make sure Nick knows the day they're planning the heist. He relays the date to Nick but denies knowing the location.
On the day of the heist, Merrimen's crew invades a commercial bank taking hostages, making demands for money and a helicopter. Nick and his team arrive as the chaos unfolds. Communication is cut, and the thieves force the branch manager to open the vault. Afterwards, they set off a massive explosion shattering windows and leading everyone outside to believe that it was used to access the vault. Nick realizes this wasn't a signature move by Merrimen and impatiently storms the bank on his own moments later. All hostages are found alive, and a hole in the floor reveals how Merrimen's crew escaped. Nick realizes this bank wasn't the main target.
Using the armored truck and stolen cash, they arrive at the Federal Reserve impersonating a drop from a savings bank. Donnie is hidden inside one of the cash dollies wheeled inside. An EMP is triggered to take out electronic sensors and cameras, and Donnie slips out to collect the bills earmarked for shredding. He stashes them in bags that are safely thrown down the shredder's trash chute. Donnie escapes through an air duct to a nearby restroom, dressed in the same delivery uniform he wore previously. He heads for the main exit, and the guard recognizes Donnie letting him pass after briefly hesitating. A routinely scheduled garbage truck picks up the trash containing the bagged bills and is intercepted by Merrimen's crew. Meanwhile, Nick's unit finally arrives on scene, capturing Donnie and beating Merrimen's location out of him.
Merrimen is advised of Donnie's capture and quickly moves to collect the money. In transit during their escape, they run into a standstill traffic jam. Not far behind, Nick's team spots Merrimen's vehicle off in the distance. They handcuff the injured Donnie to the SUV's interior and begin their armed approach. Merrimen's crew, already aware of Nick's presence, fire first and kill one of Nick's men. Their position is eventually overrun, forcing Merrimen and Levi to flee as the only remaining crew members. Levi is hit by a sniping member of Nick's team, and Merrimen is severely wounded by Nick who is in close pursuit. Cornered, Merrimen raises an empty gun to Nick, forcing Nick to fatally shoot him. The FBI finds only bags filled with shredded paper in Merrimen's SUV, telling Nick that all currency is accounted for at the Reserve. Donnie has also escaped from handcuffs.
Nick later revisits the bar where Donnie worked, only to discover he quit. After perusing pictures of Donnie and friends on the wall, he realizes through a series of flashbacks that Donnie was the likely mastermind behind the entire operation. His close friends involved in the operation were able to get to the money before Merrimen's crew. Donnie is later seen working as a bartender in a London bar as his fellow accomplices are happy customers enjoying retirement.
- Gerard Butler as Detective Nicholas "Big Nick" O'Brien, a gritty Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officer who is hellbent on bringing down Merrimen's crew, who plan on robbing the Federal Reserve Bank in Downtown Los Angeles. He's married and has two young daughters. Butler was required to gain 25-30 pounds in a short period of time for his role.
- Pablo Schreiber as Ray Merrimen, a MARSOC Marine veteran, the crew's leader and schemer, one of the robbers who set out in the first scheme in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of Downtown Los Angeles.
- O'Shea Jackson Jr. as Donnie Wilson, a bartender and one of the robbers who set out in the first scheme in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. He is the skilled driver of the group.
- Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson as Levi Enson Levoux, a MARSOC Marine veteran, one of the robbers who set out in the first scheme in robbing the Federal Reserve Bank of downtown Los Angeles. He has a teenage daughter and a wife.
- Evan Jones as Bo Bosco Ostroman, a MARSOC Marine veteran, former Los Angeles Department of Water and Power technician, and one of the robbers who works directly with Merrimen and Enson
- Cooper Andrews as Mack, one of the robber's crew members and a Western Telecal phone employee who uses his access to provide intelligence support by tapping into the LAPD data feeds. He is seen in London celebrating the heist with the other inside men Donnie was secretly working with.
- Maurice Compte as Detective Benny 'Borracho' Megalob, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit
- Kaiwi Lyman-Mersereau as Detective Tony "Z" Zapata, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit
- Mo McRae as Detective Gus Henderson, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit
- Dawn Olivieri as Debbie O'Brien, Nick O'Brien's wife who leaves him after discovering he had cheated on her
- Lewis Tan as Federal Reserve Police Lobby Guard
- Jermaine Rivers as Officer Jackson, a Federal Reserve Police guard who stops Ray Merrimen and Levoux as they enter and exit the Federal Reserve facility.
- Meadow Williams as Holly
- Brian Van Holt as Detective Murph Connors, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Unit
- Max Holloway as Bas, one of the robbers and Donnie's friend.
- Jay Dobyns as Rolph Wolfgang, a United States Federal Reserve employee who frequents Donnie Wilson's bar.
- Alix Lapri as Maloa
- Matthew Cornwell as Joseph, a bank manager
- Eric Braeden as Ziggy Zerhusen
The film was in development for roughly fourteen years, where director Christian Gudegast and a writing partner had a blind deal with New Line Cinema in 2003. The project was also later supposed to be distributed by the now-defunct Relativity Media at one point as well. Jay Dobyns, who played the character of Wolfgang, was a former Special Agent and undercover operative with the BATFE and served as a consultant for this film.
Production began in January 2017. Director of photography, Terry Stacey, shot the movie using the Arri Alexa XT Plus digital motion picture camera. Although set in Los Angeles, California, Den of Thieves was primarily filmed in and around Atlanta, Georgia. Aerial shots of Los Angeles included the Vincent Thomas Bridge, the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island and the skyline of Downtown Los Angeles.
Den of Thieves grossed $44.9 million in the United States and Canada, and $35.7 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $80.5 million, against a production budget of $30 million.
In the United States and Canada, Den of Thieves was released on January 19, 2018 alongside 12 Strong and Forever My Girl, as well as the wide expansions of Phantom Thread, I, Tonya and Call Me by Your Name, and was projected to gross $7–10 million from 2,432 theaters in its opening weekend. It ended up performing above projections, debuting to $15.3 million and finishing third at the box office behind holdover Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle and 12 Strong. It dropped 43% to $8.6 million in its second week and another 47% to $4.6 million in its third.
On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 41% based on 126 reviews, and an average rating of 5.13/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Den of Thieves pays energetic homage to classic heist thrillers of the past; unfortunately, it never comes close to living up to its obvious inspirations." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 49 out of 100, based on 24 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "B+" on an A+ to F scale.
In February 2018, it was announced a sequel was in development with Gudegast signed on to return to write and direct. Additionally, Butler, and Jackson Jr. were in talks to reprise their roles.
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