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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Mission Impossible Makes a Withdrawal

Den of Thieves (2018) on IMDb

Plot Overview

“This is the bank robbery capital of the world, Los Angeles,” declares the opening titles to “Den of Thieves” (2018.) In the quiet suburb of Gardena at 5:43 a.m., some wary armored car drivers turn off on Hawthorne for some coffee only to be ambushed by auto­matic weapons and heavy artillery. The cops arrive (“We're under heavy fire.”) One of the bad guys is hit in the femoral artery (“Marcus, he's done.”) The police also take a loss (“We're cop killers, now.”) The thieves abscond with the armored car.

Since the armored car turned out empty, the FBI has to hang back and let it be handled by the Major Crimes Division of the L.A. Sheriff Dept. led by no-nonsense Lt. “Big Nick” Flanagan (Gerard Butler), the “gangsta captain in the flesh.” Nick's crew puts the squeeze on one suspect Donnie (O'Shea Jackson Jr.) a bartender at a popular watering hole Ziggy's Hofbrau. They tell him, “You're a two-striker” ready to be put away for good, but he insists he doesn't know any­thing (“I'm just a driver.”) With what they get from Donnie and from Nick sleeping with the stripper girl­friend of the gang leader Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), they are prepared to catch them in the act next time. But maybe they're just being played by some smart crooks.

Little detail is given us at this point on the planning of the major heist on the Federal Reserve Bank in L.A., or of the “sports and military” backgrounds of the thieves, but as for the latter, Major Crimes has zeroed in on their “Marsoc Marines” connections. It would be easy to imagine some kind of blood oath or solemn promise of loyalty along the lines of Tim Pridgen's Tory Oath: (132–3)

“… there comes a time with all of us when we do not give attention to oursel's but to the common good.”

“Aye, That's what the Whigs say, too.”

“Well—so they may. 'Tis neither here nor there. When I was in London I took my oath. The keeping of it is as dear to me as life. Y'r ain father, who stood between a doomed nine­teenth and a doomed nine­teenth in the slaughter line, took his oath. But, Duncan, ne'er forget,” and Flora MacDonald's voice dropped to a whisper, “the words of the oath were for loyalty to Hanover, but the acceptance of them in true Scottish hearts was for loyalty to the Hielands. When we march we follow the wraiths o' Somerled and Douglas and Bruce—not Geordie. Your friend Harnett divined that.”

Duncan was leaning forward, breathing quickly.

“Aye!” he said aloud. “That is the tho't that bewilders me. I feel a loyalty. I hae it said it was f'r the King, but I knew in my soul that it was some­thing else.”

“Well, that's what it is, Doon-kan, and when ye hae that heart­beat, then ye know that every true Scot has the same throb. They may not say it. They may, e'en, not know it. But it is the inner call o' auld Caledonia, holding them yet.”


“Yes,” Flora whispered. Her eyes were misty, and Duncan had a gripping in his throat.

“That is why we canna join wi' the Whigs. That is why we canna, as y'r good friend Harnett wished, remain aloof. We follow the Crown, though the Hanovers be its spokes­men. It is the oath of the Scots, and their destiny.”

“Aye!” Duncan said solemnly.

There is a subplot that plays alongside the main one, in which Nick's wife Debbie (Dawn Olivieri) initiates divorce proceedings against him when she finds he has violated their vows. That and the intense loyalty the gang members display for each other in the slaughter line, and that both sports and military can breed intense bonding, could be explained by past associations.


The thieves' target is challenging, has never been taken down before. Further­more, the external security at this Bank is so extensive that it's impossible to case. A portion of screen time with the thieves mulling it over makes that clear. Yet, when it comes time to rob the bank, it is obvious they've acquired some very good intelligence, though there's no explanation from where. Or is there?

At Ziggy's Hofbrau there's a prominently displayed sign: “Loose lips sink ships.” Ziggy's is a take­off of the Hofbräuhaus, a grand Bavarian beer hall in Munich, Germany renowned for its beer and camaraderie. Just the place to loosen up one's tongue. Further­more, Hitler him­self had hung out at the one in Munich. The Hofbräuhaus used to hold functions and assemblies of the Nazi Party. If loose lips sink ships, then workers at the ship­yard should guard their tongues when they're out on the town. But if they should feel the urge to talk, then at all costs they should avoid gabbing at Hitler's night­club. Or if they work at a Federal Reserve Bank, they better never, ever let any­thing slip where this gang of thieves hangs out.

To be sure, we don't see this happening in the movie. It's hard to imagine any­body being so stupid. What we do see happening, how­ever, is Nick being unguarded with hot texts to one of his honeys, sending them to the wrong person by mistake. To his wife. Yes, people can be incredibly stupid.

In the religious sphere, if you're going to be foolish, there's one place above all others where you don't want to let slip foolish things, and that's at church. (Eccl. 5:1-3) “Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: there­fore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool's voice is known by multitude of words.”

“God is in heaven, and thou upon earth,” this would be illustrated in the movie when a cop's dying and his cop buddy tells him, “You're in His hands, now, you hear me.” And, “a dream cometh through the multitude of business,” would be illustrated when Deb packs up and leaves with the kids; that business is going to disturb their sleep. And, of course, “a fool's voice is known by multitude of words,” pegs Nick in the domestic sphere.

In this movie there is one word in particular that was used twice as much as the context called for. After a little police brutality on black man Donnie, his cronies ask him, “Why you walkin' so slow, nigger?” Seems like a legitimate question. But later on the cops refer to this gang as a bunch of niggers—only two of them were black, and that's counting the driver. Of course, this second time the 'N' word was used as an insult. As Fowler has written about it: “nigger, applied to others than full or partial negroes, is felt as an insult by the person described, & betrays in the speaker, if not deliberate insolence, at least a very arrogant inhumanity.” Any more it's the blacks who are taking offense at the term as if they were really white and their dark skin were just a shade of white.

Biblically, we can look in Acts 13:1 to see the appellation Niger applied (respect­fully) to Simeon, and the place Cyrene where Lucius was from. Niger is Latin for black, and as such it represents a nomenclature for such people: nigger, Negro, black, colored. Cyrene was known to be where black people lived, and it can be used to refer to them, as we say African-American.

In Matt. 27:32 it's an “African-American” Simon who is conscripted into involuntary servitude to carry Christ's cross. In Gen. 10:8 Nimrod the son of Cush, Hebrew for black, goes on to increase crime in the neighborhood. Cush is the oldest son on Ham who is Noah's youngest. I discuss Cush in my review of “The Bible: In the Beginning”, although it's Canaan the youngest son of Ham who carries the ball for that family.

The story in Gen. 9:22-23 tells of an incident of Noah's nakedness and the different reactions of his three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, to the situation. In “Den of Thieves” the thieves rub it in, the embarrassment of Donnie having wet him­self. Nick, how­ever, treats him with dignity seeing him in the gym dressed down for sport.

The upshot in Gen. 9:24-27 is that Noah blesses Shem, and he includes Japheth in the blessing, “he shall dwell in the tents of Shem.” These two brothers will be integrated, their off­spring will. Ham who mocked his father will have his offspring—here represented by Canaan—be their servants.

In the Federal Reserve Bank, the money is also treated in two different ways. The new bills are blessed for circulation. Money that is not brand new but is never­the­less in good shape is integrated right in with the new money for circulation. Old, decrepit money is turned into mulch after they first remove its serial numbers from their records. The genius of these bank robbers is they plan to steal this old money after its serial numbers have been deleted from the system, but before it's actually shredded. Then they can spend what they stole with­out getting caught. It's similar to how the Negro has solved his problem with the black skin that can be traced back to Noah's assignment of servitude. Relabel them­selves or get every­body to forget about color. It would explain all the fuss over the word nigger. “Methinks the lady doth protest too much”—William Shakespeare.

Production Values

This crime caper, “” (2018) was directed by Christian Gudegast who did a great job, especially as it was his first time directing. The screen­play was written by him and Paul Scheuring. It stars Gerard Butler, O'Shea Jackson Jr., and Pablo Schreiber. All the acting was in top form. The head bad guy Merrimen was played by Pablo Schreiber who did some seriously good acting.

MPAA rated it R for violence, language and some sexuality/nudity. The action sequences are first rate while they run, but non-stop it is not.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

This one has both action and intrigue. It's not just a bunch of mindless jerks pulling off a heist. They may look like they're the dumbest crooks in the business, but we strongly suspect there's method to their madness. It's a very adult film. It'll keep you guessing till the very end. I highly recommend it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Some real suspenseful moments. Overall product rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quotations from the Authorized King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Print, software.

Fowler, H.W., A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. USA. Oxford UP. 1946. Print.

Pridgen, Tim. Tory Oath. New York: Garden City, 1941. Print.