Kevin: It’s been less than a week since Mike and I reviewed “Den of Thieves” and called it a testosterone-fueled remake of “Heat” that – while possessing none of the intelligence and thoughtfulness of Michael Mann’s 1995 classic – was still an enjoyably sleazy antidote to Oscar season, anchored by a brashly aggressive and muscular performance by Gerard Butler that elevated it from straight-to-VOD trash to theatrically released trash. I guess audiences agreed, because it looks like we will be seeing more of his character Big Nick on the big screen, as I am about to write out nine words that I never thought I’d see in the following order: They are making a sequel to “Den of Thieves”!
(Major spoilers to follow)
First of all, this announcement in Deadline says 50 Cent is returning, but I have to assume that means as a producer since his character died in the last one. At least I think those of us who watched it thought we saw him pass away, but is it possible that 50’s horrible acting and mumble-mouthed speaking style actually made his character’s fate unclear? Could this be the first instance of an actor’s inability to act turning out to be an advantage by allowing him to return for a sequel?
Or maybe they will do what the “Kingsman” sequel did with Colin Firth and decide that 50 was such an essential character that he has to be brought back to life, no matter how many ridiculous hoops they have to jump through to make that happen. Or maybe he’ll be a twin brother out to settle a score, I haven’t seen that particular trope in a while. Although if that’s the case they’ll have to dye 50’s hair purple or something to prove that he is a different character, since there is no way 50 could convey that through actual acting ability.
The article also says this sequel is based on an “original idea” by writer/director Christian Gudegast, which given how original the first “Den of Thieves” was, I’m guessing actually translates to “based on a crime flick he watched on Netflix last night.” At least we know this new installment will follow the efforts of Big Nick to track down O’Shea Jackson’s character Donnie in London, which is good because I think we’ve all had trouble sleeping after having our minds blown by the “twist” at the end of “Den of Thieves” revealing that Ice Cube’s son is Keyser Soze, Blofeld, and Danny Ocean put together.
Also Donnie is apparently planning on robbing the world’s biggest diamond exchange, which hopefully is located across from a pub and within delivery range of a Chinese food place, otherwise I guess he’ll have to come up with another unbelievably absurd plan. I have to say I am looking forward to this since I enjoy any tale where a cop from one region or country butts heads with those in another, like Clint Eastwood in “Coogan’s Bluff,” John Wayne in “Brannigan,” Michael Douglas in “Black Rain,” Bruce Willis in “A Good Day to Die Hard” … well I guess I shouldn’t say I like ANY of those kinds of movies.
Considering this new milieu, I’m wondering what are the chances that there is at least one scene where Gerard verbally berates some stiff-upper-lipped, by-the-book British police captain. 157%? Actually I would be surprised if that scene didn’t end with him giving the guy a wedgie as well. Now any other movie would end with the two of them developing a mutual respect, but based on what we’ve seen from “Den of Thieves” so far, I would expect to see a scene where Gerard screws the guy’s wife on his desk while he stands off to the side with his head in his hands like in those cuckolding videos.
I’m also looking forward to some fish-out-of-water comedy involving Big Nick constantly driving on the wrong side of the road or not knowing that the Brits refer to cigarettes as “fags,” with both such examples resulting in many, many deaths. And speaking of Big Nick’s nicotine habit, I like that Gerard seems to be going the opposite direction of the Marvel actors who have to constantly stay in peak physical condition for years, and instead is choosing roles that allow him to “stay in character” as guys who always look like they just woke up on a the floor of a stripper’s studio apartment amid multiple empty liquor bottles.
Finally, I’ll note this sentence from that article above: “There is plenty of audience growth which was made evident by the release of the first film and the exit polling which showed equal interest from all male audience quads.” I’m guessing they are referring to audience quadrants, but “audience quads” is such a weirdly bro-ish way of putting it and yet perfectly in tune with the sensibility of “Den of Thieves.”
Either way, Gerard has another violent franchise along with the “Olympus Has Fallen” sequels that we (or at least I) can look forward to in the future (“Geostorm 2” will have to only exist in our fantasies it appears). So Mike, on a scale of 1 to 12.7, how much are you looking forward to seeing “Den of Thieves 2: Donnie’s Revenge,” what do you hope to see out of it, and what Michael Mann movie will they rip off next?
Mike: Wow, I am not looking forward to seeing this at all considering they killed off the only character I actually liked from the first one, Pablo Schreiber’s bad guy Merrimen. Well actually that’s not true, I did also enjoy the black guy who worked alongside Gerald Butler and who seemed to be the coldest motherfucker in the room. He was good. He tells Big Nick to get over his divorce, and he equally couldn’t give less of a shit when his fellow police officer, the “Spanish guy,” was killed by Merrimen’s team.
I am wondering how they are going to allow an L.A. County Sheriff to operate in London though. Truth be told, I was pretty much baffled on how the FBI deferred to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. throughout “Den of Thieves,” since that doesn’t seem like the kind of position that warrants worldwide esteem and recognition. You don’t often see them shown a lot of love as an international security force like INTERPOL, JSOC, or the CIA.
Now if this is going to be another direct Michael Mann rip-off, the next logical film would be his “Miami Vice” remake starring Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx. In that film they also seemed to have the ability to operate way outside their purview, but at least in “Miami Vice” they were deputized into the FBI, whereas Big Nick will no doubt just show up in London and start shooting things up and banging everyone’s wives. Although it would be nice if Big Nick was deputized into the FBI by that one fed who he had the sibling rivalry with throughout “Den of Thieves,” you remember him right? The guy who wore the suit that Big Nick sarcastically complimented six times, while he himself was dressed like someone who had just come from a “going out of business” sale at Wilsons Leather. I’d like to see the two of them go to London together so we can have a little “Midnight Run” banter to look forward to.
It’s also pretty apparent that Donnie has some kind of compulsion for committing these ridiculous robberies, even though the last thing he needs is money, especially since he took down at least $30,000,000 in cash at the end of “Den of Thieves.” But I guess once you get a taste for that type of lifestyle you just need to keep going and rob a diamond exchange as well. Donnie is really quite the versatile outlaw. Most criminals have a specialty just like everyone else in the workforce. You’re a car thief, a mugger, a getaway driver, a con man, a shoplifter, a bank robber, a hit man, a drug dealer, a burglar, a kidnapper, or maybe just hired muscle, etc. But Donnie is basically all of those things; he’s like a criminal savant who has even mastered the art of foreign accents well enough to fool people who live in that country.
What I’m most looking forward to in “Den of Thieves 2″ is the young protégé Donnie will no doubt be mentoring throughout the film, who at some point at the last minute will probably trick Donnie and make off with the loot, thus setting up a “Den of Thieves 3” (or “D3n of Thi3v3s”). My guess is that with the current climate, the protégé will be a young black actress like Keke Palmer or China Anne McClain who will finally shatter the stereotype that criminals are always smart enterprising men, when in reality they can also be young women of color. The future of criminality is female, deal with it!