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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Christian Gudegast
Cast:
Gerard Butler, O'Shea Jackson Jr., Pablo Schreiber
Writing Credits:
Christian Gudegast

Synopsis:
A gritty crime saga which follows the lives of an elite unit of the LA County Sheriff's Dept. and the state's most successful bank robbery crew as the outlaws plan a seemingly impossible heist on the Federal Reserve Bank.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$15,206,108 on 2432 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$44,947,622.

MPAA:
Rated R/NR.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 140 min. (Theatrical)
149 min. (Unrated)
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 4/24/2018

Bonus:
• Both Theatrical and Unrated Versions
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Christian Gudegast and Producer Tucker Tooley
• Alternate Ending
• “Alpha Males” Featurette
• “Into the Den” Featurette
• “Alameda Corridor” Featurette
• Outtakes
• Trailers
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
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-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


RELATED REVIEWS


Den of Thieves [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 17, 2018)

We get an update on crime thriller via 2018’s Den of Thieves. Ray Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber) leads an elite gang of robbers who seem “addicted” to this life.

Eager for a new challenge, Ray and company decide to break into the Federal Reserve, a seemingly impregnable target. To counter this, an elite LAPD squad headed by Nick O’Brien (Gerard Butler) tries to foil the crime and apprehend the suspects – by any means necessary.

Whenever I review a film that stars Butler, I feel an irrational – but irresistible – urge to wonder what the heck happened to his career. After his “big break” via 2007’s 300, Butler has yet to play the lead in another hit film, and he’s left a long string of duds in his wake.

I feel little pity for Butler, mainly because he makes bad choices. Some actors appear in good movies that simply don’t sell, but Butler seems to go out of his way to pick weak projects.

Does Den change that trend? Nope – while it avoids the overt dumbed-down idiocy of efforts like Geostorm or Olympus Has Fallen, it lacks much to make it interesting.

Much of the problem relates to the film’s delusions of grandeur. With a running time that approaches two and a half hours, writer/director Christian Gudegast clearly envisions something more epic than a simple Point Break-style adventure.

Instead, 1995’s Heat appears to provide Den’s primary inspiration. Gudegast attempts a drama in which criminal activities act as the backdrop but character dynamics and relations come to the fore.

Which would be fine if all of the participants didn’t seem so damned dull. Not a single role comes across as intriguing or memorable, and that leaves the movie with a hole at its core.

While Butler seems more invested in his role than usual, he gets little with which to work. A dirty cop who cheats on his wife, Nick offers a wholly unlikable character, and the film fails to compensate with anything to make him interesting.

The same goes for the rest, and Den fails to develop the parts in a satisfying manner. Sluggish and slow-paced, Gudegast confuses moody shots of pensive characters for actual development.

Without much real narrative depth on display, Den needs its action scenes to maintain our interest, but that doesn’t happen. After the film launches with a passable robbery sequence, we endure long stretches of supposed exposition and development that fail to move anywhere.

Heck, the movie’s main plot – related to the Federal Reserve heist – doesn’t even enter the picture until about one-third of the way into the tale, and when it does, it still seems barely relevant. Gudegast wants his brooding character drama – audience boredom be damned!

All of this leads to a long, dull experience. Den feels like a bland melange of genre tropes without its own personality and it never turns into a stimulating tale.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Den of Thieves appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Across the board, the transfer looked good.

Sharpness was fine. A little softness occurred in some wide shots, but those didn’t become a concern. Overall definition seemed solid.

I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked apparent edge haloes or other artifacts. I also saw no print flaws, as the movie always seemed clean.

In terms of palette, Den reflected Hollywood’s modern fascination with orange and teal. As tedious as that has become, the colors looked fine within the design parameters.

In addition, blacks were dark and tight, while low-light shots were decent; some could be a bit dense, but they weren’t bad. This was a positive presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added breadth to the experience. The movie didn’t deliver a consistently rock-em-sock-em soundscape, but it managed to open up well.

A few louder sequences – usually connected to action beats – made more dynamic use of the spectrum, but those didn’t pop up with great frequency. Instead, the emphasis on general environment remained, and that was fine, as I felt the soundfield fit the material.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech remained natural and concise, with no edginess or other flaws.

Music sounded full and dynamic, while effects came across as accurate and clear. All of this suited the film and earned a solid “B”.

On this Blu-ray, we find both the film’s theatrical version (2:20:28) and an unrated cut (2:28:49). I only screened the longer edition so I can’t compare the two, but I wanted to mention that both appear here.

Alongside the theatrical version, we find an audio commentary with writer/director Christian Gudegast and producer Tucker Tooley. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and audio, stunts and action, effects, and related domains.

Tooley chips in a few thoughts, but Gudegast heavily dominates this chat, and he makes it fairly good. He touches on the important elements and provides a largely positive overview of the film.

An Alternate Ending runs four minutes, 51 seconds. This offers more of a “truncated ending” than an “alternate” one – it provides the same finale as the released movie but it ends earlier. That leaves us on without a clear resolution to the story, which is good or bad, depending on your POV.

Three featurettes follow, and Alpha Males goes for two minutes, six seconds and offers notes from actors O’Shea Jackson, Jr., Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Gerard Butler and Pablo Schreiber. We get basics about the characters in this short promo piece.

Into the Den lasts two minutes, six seconds and features Butler, Gudegast, Curtis Jackson, Schreiber, and O’Shea Jackson. This one covers story moments and offers another advertisement.

Finally, Alameda Corridor takes up three minutes, 13 seconds with notes from Gudegast, O’Shea Jackson, Butler, Curtis Jackson, Schreiber, executive producer Scott Lumpkin and SFX supervisor Yves DeBono.

“Corridor” looks at stunts/action for a major set piece. It’s better than its predecessors but still too short to tell us much.

In addition to two trailers, we find 11 Outtakes. These occupy a total of 23 minutes, 22 seconds and give us deleted scenes instead of the bloopers we might expect.

If you watched the Unrated Cut, most of these segments will look familiar, but they’re new to those who only saw the theatrical version. I like the fact viewers can see the added footage separate from the Unrated edition.

Note that a couple of unique segments pop up in the “Outtakes”. For instance, a scene in which Nick tries to reconcile with his estranged wife doesn’t appear in the Unrated Cut.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Den. It includes both cuts of the film as well as all the same extras.

If you hope Den of Thieves will bring anything fresh to the crime thriller genre, you’ll encounter disappointment. The movie aspires to a depth and meaning it can’t achieve. The Blu-ray presents very good picture and audio along with a decent array of supplements. Den delivers a wholly mediocre effort.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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