Den of Thieves is an upcoming crime thriller starring Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, O’Shea Jackson Jr., and Gerard Butler. The film will tell the story of a group of daring criminals who plan to pull-off a seemingly impossible heist. To do so, they must evade one of the most effective law enforcement divisions in Los Angeles.
Although the film isn’t slated for release until January 2018, it’s early enough to get excited. That’s because…
It’s a Classic Genre
Ocean’s Eleven. Heat. Reservoir Dogs. The Town.
The heist film is a classic Hollywood genre, and for good reason. It gives viewers the chance to vicariously experience a side of life few people ever get a taste of. The characters who populate these movies are rarely the type of people you’d want to know in real life, but on screen, they’re dynamic, entertaining, and in many cases, much more charming than we’d like to admit. There’s a building sense of excitement and even suspense as the audience wonders, Are they actually going to pull this off?
Heist movies also provide viewers with clear, understandable premises and conflicts. What do the criminals want? Money, a very basic and simple desire. Of course, many of the best heist movies simply use money as a means of expressing something else about who these people really are. The diamond thieves in Reservoir Dogs are driven by base impulse. Danny Ocean assembles a team to win back the love of his life. The characters in Heat seem to rob banks because they don’t know how to do anything else.
The stakes are also abundantly clear in these movies. We know that law enforcement is always one step away from the criminals. Sometimes, we’re meant to take the side of law and order. Sometimes, we’re meant to root for the thieves, who represent a rebellion against the established, sometimes unjust rules of society. Either way, we know that whoever the protagonist is, they’re never standing on solid ground. These movies are thrilling because the audience never knows what will happen next.
The Cast Is Exceptional
Gerard Butler embodies a kind of performer who is rare in Hollywood these days. Many recent action stars are talented, but too young or boyish to convincingly play such roles. Butler’s performances in films ranging from 300 to Olympus Has Fallen prove he has both the physical and emotional energy to deliver the kind of performance actors like John Wayne, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger have given.
Curtis Jackson brings authenticity to the film. His success as a hip-hop star made him a household name, but prior to reaching global superstardom, he himself was the victim of violent crime. He understands the world these types of characters come from, and elevates the crime genre by grounding it in real experience.
With talent like that up on the screen, it’s easy to see why many are excited for this picture.
The Film Won’t Shy Away from Action
If anyone had any doubts about this movie being the kind of heist picture that blends strong storytelling with riveting action, those doubts were laid to rest when the trailer premiered earlier this year.
Great crime films tell great stories. Sometimes those stories are simple morality tales, reminding viewers that crime doesn’t pay. Sometimes those stories are character studies, exploring the inner thoughts, feelings, and demons of people who both break and enforce the law.
The stories themselves are frequently memorable, but they need the support of Hollywood genre conventions to get audiences into the theater. By adding a strong action element to what already appears to be a thrilling tale, Den of Thieves is clearly the type of movie that balances pulp entertainment and memorable storytelling. Its director, Christian Gudegast, has already proven his ability to direct compelling action sequences in movies like London Has Fallen and A Man Apart.
Heist movies succeed because they combine a wide range of entertaining elements. Mixing unforgettable characters, genuine conflict, and sharp writing, they achieve what so few movies can—giving audiences a thrill ride that they’ll actually remember.
Den of Thieves follows in that tradition. It has the kind of talent both behind and in front of the camera that audiences can depend on. Look for it this January.