Den of Thieves is a gritty cops and robbers drama. Gerard Butler is the head of LA's Major Crimes Unit (the good guys) and Pablo Schrieber, from TV's "The Wire", is the head of a major league bank robbery team (the bad guys). However, in this high octane action drama it's hard to separate the good guys from the bad ones. Butler's character Nick is anything but a hero, except when he's on the trail of the bank robbers. He's a bad father and husband and he has no time for any kind of rules that should apply to a policeman. He smokes, he drinks and he even picks up donuts off the ground at a crime scene to grab a quick sugar rush. He's so good at being bad that often times you'll find yourself rooting against him in the movie.
Meanwhile, Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson and O'Shea Jackson (Straight Outta Compton), as members of the bank robbery gang, display more likable qualities than the cops who are chasing them. They are loyal. They take good care of their families and they exhibit more good qualities than you'd expect from a bank robber.
Den of Thieves reminded me a lot of the Michael Mann directed cops and robbers drama Heat from the '90s. While the characters weren't on the level of Pacino and De Niro, the movie's director makes up for any weaknesses with his action scenes. Christian Gudegast knows how to create a serious shoot 'em up drama, and like 50 Cent, Gudegast comes from the world of rap music videos and that edginess shows throughout the movie.
The movie runs a bit long at 2 hours and 20 minutes, but I didn't have a problem with that. Den of Thieves will keep you enthralled. It has plenty of surprises that you'll never see coming until the very end.
I enjoyed Den of Thieves a lot. It's rated "R" for a whole lot of violence and on my "Hollywood Popcorn Scale" I rate it a JUMBO.